Today in #OpenGov 9/12/2013

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National News

  • Agencies may be holding out on the National Archives and Records Administration, according to a new GAO report. NARA is trying to find out where all Federal agencies store their physical records, but hasn’t received responses from a number of agencies. The report criticized NARA for relying on agency provided data and not doing their own legwork. (Fierce Government)
  • In other NARA news, the agency recently decided that high-level administration officials can continue to use private email addresses to conduct government business on the condition that they agree to preserve the records and turn them over the the Archives at some point. The accounts also must comply with Federal record keeping rules and be available under the FOIA. (Washington Post)
  • Officials from USAID and the State Department are venting their frustration with the watchdog appointed to ensure that their operations in Afghanistan are not mismanaged and wasteful. Unfortunately for them John Sopko, appointed as special inspector general for Afghan reconstruction last year, has found numerous examples of both. (New York Times)
  • Despite the appearance that our political system is drowning in money, many GOP outside spending groups aren’t happy with their fundraising pace ahead of the 2014 elections. The GOP has high hopes of taking control of the entire legislative branch, but right now they’re having trouble convincing their wealthy benefactors to kick in huge sums following the party’s frustrating performance in 2012. (POLITICO)
  • A new poll of the impending Kentucky Senate bloodbath shows that Mitch McConnell might be vulnerable for his strong support of massive, opaque political spending. His Democratic opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, has strong fundraising appeal and might be able to use McConnell’s own rules against him. (Washington Post)

International News

  • Officials and civil society groups are working in Afghanistan with the goal of using technology to enhance transparency and participation in the country’s electoral process. With a Presidential election scheduled for next April, now is the time to make improvements and boost the public’s confidence in the system. (NDI Democracy Works)
  • Certain factors, like the civil society participation, concrete goals, and independent monitoring mechanisms, make the OGP stand out. However, it is still an imperfect process as recent independent reports have pointed out. Among the issues raised are the ease with which countries can join, the lack of real consultations between government and civil society, and minimal or weak commitments. (Open Knowledge Blog)

State and Local News

  • Open Twin Cities issued an open data questionnaire to candidates for Minneapolis’ City Council and Mayor. Candidates have until October 1 to complete the form, which is intended to highlight open data as an important issue and identify where candidates stand. (Open Twin Cities)
  • Meanwhile in the Twin Cities, the Minneapolis Police Department pulled their excel crime data reports shortly after the MinnPost launched a crime app that makes use of the data. The Police Department cited accuracy concerns with the editable spreadsheets and used the flimsy excuse that they still release information in PDF format.  (MinnPost)
  • The Chicago City Council took a controversial vote yesterday to eliminate their gun registry. Gun owners in the city will no longer be required to register their weapons or obtain a permit, although they will have to apply for a license if they want to conceal that they are packing heat in public. (Washington Post)

State Bills

Events Today

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