This week I participated in an international meeting on “Achieving Greater Transparency in Legislatures through the Use of Open Document Standards.” It was co-hosted by the United Nations, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and included representatives from 16 parliaments, non-governmental representatives, multi-lateral organizations, and academia. It is impossible to recapitulate all the conversations that took place, but presentations are (or will be) available online here and video will be available online as well.
I was struck by the candor of the participants, the breadth of the undertakings by the various parliaments, and the apparently sincere desire of many parliaments to learn from each other and from the non-governmental community. For my part, I made a presentation on the state of legislative transparency in the American context, with a focus on principles to evaluate whether electronically-stored government data is being properly made available for public use, followed by an examination of first steps that parliaments can take to increase public access to legislative information. The full text of my remarks are available below.