Washington, D.C. – Today the Open, Public, Electronic and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act (S.760; H.R. 1770), as championed by Senators Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Brian Schatz (D-HI), was incorporated into a package of amendments (S.Amdt.1003) representing the final negotiated Senate FY18 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (S. 1519; H.R. 2810). You can find the new bill text incorporated as Sec. 6012 on page 1013 of the Congressional Record here.
The NDAA is expected to pass both chambers of Congress and be signed by the President, meaning that this open data bill is likely to become law.
This version of the OPEN Government Data Act closely mirrors the original bill (S. 760), but incorporates some changes based on input from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), ensuring support from the Administration going forward.
On Monday, July 24th, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee cleared S.760 for consideration by the full Senate (see S. Rept. 115-134) (the Committee-cleared version does not include the revised text from OMB as incorporated into the Senate NDAA package).
The OPEN Government Data Act will require a government-wide policy for all federal agencies to publish their information online, using non-proprietary, machine-readable data formats. Sasse and Schatz have been leading the campaign for its passage in the Senate; Representatives Blake Farenthold (R-TX) and Derek Kilmer (D-WA) have introduced it in the House.
The bill codifies the 2013 government-wide Open Data policy (“Open Data Policy-Managing Information as an Asset”, M-13-13), which has been integrated into agency policy for the past four years, into law.
“The OPEN Government Data Act is a comprehensive open data mandate that establishes open and machine-readable data as the benchmark for all federal agency information management,” said Hudson Hollister, Executive Director of the Data Coalition. “This bill will push the whole federal government to modernize, across all its information operations, and it will reinforce the mandate of the DATA Act of 2014 to transform spending information into open data. We applaud Senators Sasse and Schatz for their steadfast bipartisanship leadership.”
The Revised OPEN Government Data Act:
In late June of this year, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scored S.760 and concluded that it would cost about $2 million over the 2018-2021 period (see the CBO statement here).
For more background on the OPEN Government Data Act, you can view our Executive Director’s testimony at the March House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing titled, “Legislative Proposals for Fostering Transparency.” The full hearing recap is here.
Track the original bill (S.760) here.
About the Data Coalition: The Data Coalition is the world’s first, and only, open data trade association. We advocate on behalf of the private sector and the public interest for the publication of government information as standardized, open data. Open data enhances accountability, improves government management, reduces compliance costs, and stimulates innovation. Our members represent a cross-section of the technology industry and implementers, employ over two hundred thousand Americans, and have a combined market capitalization exceeding $1.5 trillion. For more information, visit datacoalition.org.
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