Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Open Data bill faces reckoning in Appropriations Committee; author commits to open data reform long term

SB 573, by California State Senator Dr. Richard Pan, will be re-considered in the California State Assembly Appropriations committee tomorrow, August 27th.  This bill would create the position of Chief Data Officer of the State of California, and mandate the creation of a universal state data portal.

Vendors of the systems that will make this vision a reality demonstrated their wares in the Eureka Room at the State Capitol in Sacramento this morning, accompanied by speeches from Senator Dr. Pan and also from Assemblymember Phil Ting, who supports the bill as well.

According to a press release from the Data Transparency Coalition:  

"The potential for better transparency, better state management, increased economic activity, and lowered compliance costs cannot be realized unless our state chooses to standardize and publish our public data," said Dr. Pan. “SB 573 takes that crucial first step by appointing a Chief Data Officer who will establish an open data portal in the state."

"The technology industry already has the technology to better connect citizens with their government, fight waste and fraud through analytics, and cut compliance costs through automation," said Hudson Hollister, executive director of the Data Transparency Coalition. "But these solutions all depend on whether governments choose to adopt common formats and make data consistently available. By supporting open data policies, Dr. Pan and Asm. Ting are enabling new technologies that will transform government and society."

The Data Transparency Coalition followed up this press release with an additional statement that it prepared for Etopia News, in which it said:

“[Dr. Pan] expressed optimism that SB 573 be approved by Appropriations and focused on the next step: whether Gov. Brown will sign SB 573 into law. He encouraged our whole group - tech companies, civic technologists, other advocates - to contact the governor's office in support of open data. Dr. Pan also said he, Asm. Ting, and other supporters are committed to continuing to support open data reforms - ensuring that they will be enacted ultimately, whether through SB 573 or another vehicle.”

Due to the bill's expected cost, it was earlier placed in the "suspense file," from which it will either be taken and sent on to the Assembly floor or be left to expire at Thursday's meeting of the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

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