Today in OpenGov: New bill seeks independent cameras in Congress


GOOD IDEA: Congressman Ami Bera (D-Calif.) has introduced a bill to address the issue of camera access in the House that offers a legislative vehicle that would improve the status quo. This is an appropriate institutional response to last month’s events. There should be multiple pool cameras on the floor of the House and Senate that are controlled by an independent body that provide a live feed of all action by members of Congress to C-SPAN viewers, as well as visitors of and [READ MORE]

 STAY OPEN: Today, Sunlight’s Alex Howard and LaVita Tuff testified before DC City Council regarding proposed legislation that would exempt DC’s Advisory Neighborhood Commissions and their operations from the Freedom of Information Act. [READ MORE]

OPENGOV VOICES: Have you ever wondered how to map Congressional districts? Guest bloggers Joshua Tauberer and Aaron Dennis explained how to use Mapbox and Census data to do exactly that.  [LEARN HOW]


  • Sunlight joined a coalition of 15 groups that oppose the FBI’s proposal to exempt the Next Generation Identification (NGI) system from most key provisions of the Privacy Act. We’re asking for stronger privacy and transparency measures, oppose the to weaken existing protections, and urge Congress to take on more oversight of biometric data collection. [OpenTheGov]
  • The federal FOIA ombudsman, the Office for Government Services, has started explaining how it will take on the expanded role outlined for it in the recently enacted reforms to the nation’s open government law. [OGIS]
  • This is old news but it remains relevant: ProPublica tallied up $17 billion in wasteful spending — and counting — in Afghanistan by the U.S. military, State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development. The story is a reminder that the public need Congress to perform oversight like the Truman Committee did in World War II during today’s Long War, which is being fought in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the gaps left by failed states. [PRI]

State and Local

  • Bystander capturing a Baton Rouge police officer fatally shooting Alton Sterling is sparking new national outrage. As reported by the Post, “video of the shooting was captured by chance by members of Stop the Killing, Inc, a local anti-violence activist group and documentary team that listens to police scanners and shows up at the scene of potentially violent confrontations to take video.” According to the group’s founder, the group didn’t immediately release the video because it wanted to see whether the Baton Rouge police department would be transparent about what occurred. The police department did not  release body or dash camera footage immediately after the shooting. [Washington Post]


  • The United Kingdom published the Chilcot Report, an independent inquiry into the United Kingdom’s involvement in the Iraq war in 2003. The massive report was deeply critical of former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s role in leading a coalition of countries to war. [New York Times]

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