Today in OpenGov: Transport data ownership, email records management, and more…


In today’s edition, we ask about transit data sharing, argue for tax transparency, investigate protests in Venezuela, invite you to #TCampAZ, and more…

states and cities


  • Transportation data sharing benefits from technological advances, helps states and cities. “Although the Department of Transportation (DOT) has operated the Intelligent Transportations Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO) for decades, the recent technological advances in vehicle connectivity and smart infrastructure design have led to a number of programs adaptable for state and local governments.” (Government Technology)
  • Closed transit data is bad for cities, citizens. U.S. Cities tend to open up their transit data, leading to a plethora of apps and services that help people navigate and explore their surroundings. That’s not always the case elsewhere in the world. Here, Germany is used as an example of the negative ramifications of keeping transit data closed. (CityLab)
  • Embattled Alabama governor resigns, admits to campaign finance violations. “Gov. Robert Bentley resigned Monday rather than face impeachment and pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor campaign violations that arose during an investigation of his alleged affair with a top aide.” (POLITICO)
  • Some states respond to federal Internet privacy rollbacks. “Privacy groups lost a major battle when Congress and President Trump canceled Internet privacy rules written under the Obama administration. The regulations prevented Internet service providers from selling your web browsing history to third parties, and they were stricter than rules for other kinds of Internet firms. But…the fight’s not over. It’s just moved to the states. (NPR)
  • Colorado House hoping to shed light on dark money. “House Bill 17-1261 would require that anyone spending $1,000 or more in a year on electioneering communications include ‘paid for’ disclosures in those ads. House Bill 17-1262 would close a reporting gap so that spending information on electioneering communications is available throughout a campaign season.” (Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition via NFOIC)

washington watch


  • President Trump should embrace transparency and disclose his tax returns. Sunlight’s deputy director Alex Howard weighed in on why we’ll be participating in Saturday’s Tax March in DC. We, along with the majority of Americans, believe that this transparency is vital. We hope that sustained public interest in the President’s tax returns will bend the arc of openness in this presidency back towards the American values of public service over private interest that our democracy deserves.  (The Sunlight Foundation)
  • Agencies make progress on email management, have much more to do. Some federal agencies are still managing email archives using paper, despite President Barack Obama’s 2012 order — and as Meredith Somers reports, they’re not being fully transparent about where they stand in their self-assessments. Alex Howard noted that a number of major agencies had not released required self-assessments, arguing “when agencies do not complete self-assessments, something is awry. On that count, it’s unfortunately notable that OMB itself does not have a report online, despite the importance of leadership on IT modernization.” (Federal News Radio) See Sunlight’s full statement on our Facebook page.

around the world


  • Venezuelan media, citizens facing censorship as protests escalate in Caracas. Several television stations have been inaccessible within the country after “broadcasting protests in Caracas, which were organized by those opposing Nicolás Maduro’s administration. The demonstrations unfolded last week after the country’s Supreme Court dissolved the parliament and reassigned its functions to the executive branch and the Supreme Court itself.” (Global Voices) Yesterday, the U.S. State Department called on the Venezuelan government to respect human rights and public participation.  
  • Russian opposition leader Navalny released from prison following arrest during protests. Alexey Navalny was arrested during unprecedented protests last month targeting “Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev over allegations that he took more than a $1 billion in bribes from state banks and wealthy businessmen, the rallies penetrated deep into Russia, taking place in more than 80 towns and cities and drawing tens of thousands of people into the streets.” (POLITICO)
  • What’s next for fiscal transparency in OGP National Action Plans? “Budget transparency is a key area [for countries building their National Action Plans]: it is one of the four requirements for membership of the OGP; and fiscal transparency commitments made up around one third of all the commitments in the first 51 Action Plans.” (Open Government Partnership)

save the dates


  • #TCampAZ is coming up on May 22 in Phoenix. Learn more on Facebook and get your tickets hereThis one-day unconference will bring together the government representatives, developers and journalists to solve problems relating to civic data access. TCamp participants design the agenda, present their ideas and dive into the challenges, success stories and new possibilities during morning and afternoon breakout sessions. It is being hosted by the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting with key partners including Sunlight, Galvanize, and the Institute for Digital Progress. 
  • April 13th: Ignite Night and Happy Hour at the OpenGov Hub in Washington, DC. “This event will feature a series of several Ignite-style lightning talks (exactly 5 minutes, with 20 slides that auto advance every 15 seconds) about some of the latest exciting projects from OpenGov Hub member organizations, including Open Data Watch, the Natural Resource Governance Institute, Global Integrity, and more!” Register to attend here.
  • April 25th: TICTeC in Florence, Italy. Hosted by mySociety and “Returning for a third year, the Impacts of Civic Technology Conference focuses on the impact that civic technology and digital democracy are having on citizens, decision makers and governments around the world.” Learn more and register to attend here.
  • May 17th and 18th: Reboot Congress 2017 and the Kemp Forum in Washington, DC. “Held in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol, Reboot Congress 2017, is an invite-only conversation that will bring together a dynamic mix of problem solvers – civic tech innovators, engineers and designers, elected officials, senior staffers, policy experts, and other stakeholders working to modernize Congress.” Learn more here.
  • May 17th: The 2017 Door Stop Awards in Washington, DC. “Lincoln Network and The OpenGov Foundation are joining forces to present the 2017 Door Stop Awards for Congressional Innovation and Transparency. Awards will be presented on May 17, 2017 in Washington, D.C. at an evening party as part of Reboot Congress.” Do you know a member of Congress or staffer who deserves to be recognized? You can submit a nomination here
  • June 8th and 9th: Personal Democracy Forum 2017 in New York City. “The annual flagship conference brings together close to 1,000 top technologists, campaigners, hackers, opinion-makers, government officials, journalists, and academics for two days of game-changing talks, workshops, and networking opportunities to celebrate the power and potential of tech to make real change happen.” Learn more about #PDF17 and get your tickets here

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