Today in #OpenGov 7/1/2014


Keep reading for today’s look at #OpenGov news, events, and analysis including an unexpected end to the disclosure of Congresspeople’s privately sponsored travel, a possible Access to Information law in Afghanistan, and plenty of state and local news.

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National News

  • Lt. Gen. William Lord, former Chief Information Officer for the United States Air Force, wrote in support of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), which would place more CIOs in government agencies, grant them more authority, and establish foundations for managing federal information technology projects. The bill passed the House and currently awaits consideration from the Senate. (FCW)
  • The House Ethics Committee quietly released members of Congress from disclosing privately sponsored travel on their annual financial-disclosure forms, unexpectedly ending a disclosure requirement that had been in place since the 1970’s. (National Journal)
  • The Office of Management and Budget released detailed plans for accomplishing its 15 cross-agency goals, which range from smarter information technology delivery to open data initiatives. Don’t get too excited, however: previously, a June 10 Government Accountability Office report found that OMB’s plans often lack specific timeframes and status updates. (FierceGovernment)
  • DigitalGov, the General Services Administration’s office that works with digital citizen engagement, recently announced three new toolkits aimed at helping the public sector develop its online presence and social network strategies. (FedScoop)

International News

  • Norway has ended a national experiment with e-voting after deploying it for 2011 and 2013 elections. Norway’s Office of Modernization stated in a press release, “While there is a broad political desire to introduce Internet voting, the government has concluded that it is not appropriate to spend money and time on several attempts.” (TechPresident)
  • The lower house of the Afghan Parliament approved an Access to Information law. The bill awaits approval from the upper house before it can reach the desk of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. (Khaama Press)

State and Local News

  • Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware recently signed into law four House bills that expand and bolster Delaware’s Freedom of Information Act. (
  • A jury in the U.S. District Court in Cleveland found Benjamin Suarez, a millionaire donor accused of illegally funneling campaign donations to a Republican Congressional candidate and Republican Senate candidate, merely guilty of witness tampering. (The Washington Times)
  • While New Yorkers won’t be able to stream State Assembly meetings this legislative session, they can sleep well knowing that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey–a powerful and controversial agency implicated in the New Jersey bridge scandal–must now open its records to the public and comply with open meeting rules. (Democrat and Chronicle)

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