Today in OpenGov: DC’s data policy, no transparency in the House GOP’s healthcare vote, and more…


In today's edition, we celebrate Washington, DC's new data policy, calls for public access to CRS reports are renewed, the House votes on a healthcare bill that no one had time to read, Ukraine and Romania try to deal with corruption, and more…

states and cities

  • Washington, DC's new data policy balances privacy, security, and openness. Alex Howard and Stephen Larrick write "The District of Columbia’s new Data Policy builds on the good work of other American cities working through how to balance competing interests with its strong commitment to open by default and strong commitments to data protection and privacy." Read more, including praise for the city's engagement strategy, on the Sunlight blog
  • How Pittsburgh took its open data app directly to citizens. "When Pittsburgh developed Burgh’s Eye View, the city’s recently-launched open data application, the city’s Analytics & Strategy team visited 26 community meetings in early 2017 to gather actionable feedback and share the application with the community." (Data-Smart City Solutions)

washington watch

  • Yesterday, the House voted on a healthcare bill that no one had time to read. John Wonderlich responded with a strong argument for transparency: "After years of promises to run an open, participatory process, today’s rushed, secretive vote represents a step backward, defying constituents rather than being transparent with them. By rushing a vote on so fundamental an issue as American health care, House Republicans are depriving themselves and their constituents the chance to understand their plan for reform." Read the whole statement here
  • Advocates agitate for a more open Congressional Research Service. "The secrecy surrounding Congress’ in-house think tank came under fire again Wednesday, with transparency advocates on and off the Hill renewing calls for free public access to its in-depth policy briefs." Congress is responding with plans for bipartisan legislation to open up the CRS in both the House and Senate.  (Roll Call)
  • With DATA Act deadline coming up, agencies are already looking at future benefits. "The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act's first submission deadline is still five days away, but agencies are already counting the benefits they've seen and looking to future uses." (Federal Computer Week)

money talks

  • Top Trump donor Rebekah Mercer likely to play major role in the Heritage Foundation's future. "Mercer's arrival and presence on the board itself, sources said, seems to be the clearest sign that Heritage will not return to its former iteration as a conservative policy think tank, and instead remain the more aggressive political entity the group has operated as under DeMint and Heritage Action leader Mike Needham. It also means that the group could move closer to the views of the Trump administration — a more nationalist, populist ideology also supported by the Mercers." (BuzzFeed)
  • Groups consider legal challenges to Trump EO that would make it easier for religious groups to engage in politics. "At least one group is gearing up to file legal challenges against President Trump's executive order intended to make it easier for religious groups to participate in politics without risking their tax-exempt status, though another has said it isn't worth the trouble." (The Hill)
  • Lewandowski to leave lobbying firm amid dispute over foreign clients. The former Trump campaign manager "said Thursday that his partner, Barry Bennett, and others among the firm’s eight operatives have used his name without his authorization and sought business with foreign clients that he doesn’t want." (Bloomberg)
  • Pressure grows on corporations to disclose their political spending. "Corporate political spending has spiked noticeably in the business-friendly Trump era, but so has the pressure on corporations to fully disclose the money they pour into politics. (The American Prospect)

around the world

Image Credit: Mark Strozier
  • Anti-corruption officials in Ukraine are struggling to clean up official graft. "Corruption-battling cops in Ukraine are hitting obstacles in their quest to snare misbehaving officials…While a belated crackdown on graft is finally producing high-level arrests, many probes aren’t reaching court and suspects are often freed on bail against investigators’ wishes." (Bloomberg)
  • Romania kills amendment making corruption a pardonable offense. "A Romanian senate committee withdrew an amendment to a bill that would have made influence-peddling and bribe-taking pardonable offenses…" following protests. (POLITICO)

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.
  • May 6th: Sustainable Development Goals Data Archive-a-thon in Washington, DC. The SDG Data Archive-a-thon is an opportunity for programmers, archivists, scientists and volunteers of all kinds to help preserve publicly accessible federal data resources in the public interest. The goal of this event is to archive the datasets used to report on the SDG indicators and to ensure they remain accessible to the public online. This event is hosted by the Center for Open Data Enterprise. Learn more and register to participate 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." Learn more here.
  • May 19th and 20th: Global Legislative Openness Conference in Kyiv, Ukraine. "This 2-day event is hosted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, organized by the Legislative Openness Working Group of the Open Government Partnership and Open Parliament Initiative in Ukraine. The event will convene leading legislators, government officials, and civil society representatives to consider how legislative openness can strengthen public trust in representative institutions and build a responsive, 21st century legislature. In addition, the conference will explore how parliaments can best leverage the Open Government Partnership's new legislative engagement policy to develop and implement legislative openness plans and commitments." Learn more 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.
  • June 27th: Legislative Data and Transparency Conference in Washington, DC. "The Legislative Data and Transparency Conference 2017 (#LDTC17), hosted by the Committee on House Administration, will take place on Tuesday, June 27, 2017in the Capitol Visitor Center Congressional Auditorium. The #LDTC17 brings individuals from Legislative Branch agencies together with data users and transparency advocates to foster a conversation about the use of legislative data – addressing how agencies use technology well and how they can use it better in the future." Learn more here
  • June 29th: DATA Act Summit 2017 in Washington, DC. "The fourth annual DATA Act Summit, hosted by the Data Coalition and Booz Allen Hamilton, will bring together supporters of the open data transformation from across government and the private sector." Learn more and get your tickets here
  • September 11th and 12th: TicTec@Taipei in Taipei. "TICTeC@Taipei is the first ever conference about the influence of civic tech to be held in Asia. We’ve invited members of academia, business, politics, NGOs, education to participate, and discuss their research. We hope through this event, we can build a global network of civic tech enthusiasts." The event is being held during #CivicTechFest 2017. Learn more, submit a session proposal, and register to attend here.


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