Today in OpenGov: DATA Act deadline, going beyond open data in South Bend, and more…


In today's edition, we look back on the DATA Act as a key deadline arrives, Illinois moves to protect personal data, two business professors explain the importance of visitor log transparency, and more…

washington watch

  • We looked back on the history of the DATA Act as the law reached a key implementation deadline. "May 9th is one of the most significant deadlines in the DATA Act implementation timeline. We didn’t get to this moment by accident. This is the culmination of years of work by public servants inside of our Congress and federal government, and public advocates outside of the system. The Sunlight Foundation supported the DATA Act since it was first introduced in Congress in 2011 and advocated for its passage in the face of opposition from the Obama White House. Why? High quality, standardized, public data on government spending can identify waste, prevent fraud, increase efficiency, and ultimately lead to a more effective, accountable government for American citizens." Read more on the Sunlight Blog and cheeck out the newly standardized data at
  • The GAO has its eye on agencies as they attempt to meet today's DATA Act reporting deadline. "Over the past 3 years, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Department of the Treasury (Treasury), and federal agencies have taken steps towards addressing policy and technical hurdles to producing comparable spending information. For example, OMB and Treasury established financial data standards and related guidance to assist agencies in preparing their spending data, and Offices of Inspector General (OIG) reviewed their agencies’ implementation plans to help identify challenges." (GAO WatchBlog)
  • IRS Inspector General finds high improper payment risk tied to tax credits. "Ongoing efforts by the Internal Revenue Service to minimize erroneous payments for various tax credits remain an at unacceptable risk level, a watchdog found." (Government Executive)
  • Census, industry teaming up to better distribute and utilize American Community Survey data. "The nation’s next wholesale population count is still more than two years away but U.S. Census Bureau officials are not only preparing to migrate that process online — they’re also working with private industry to devise better ways of sharing the yearly American Community Survey (ACS) data that’s produced." (Government Technology)
  • House committee chair walks back efforts to keep correspondence with agencies private. "The Texan who chairs a powerful committee over banking policy says he won't ask federal agencies to withhold 'all records' of the panel's communications from journalists, watchdogs and others — despite recent letters that suggested the opposite." (Dallas Morning News)


  • Business professors write in support of White House visitor logs transparency. "Having reviewed years’ worth of White House visitor logs, we agree there are major risks associated with the documents’ release—political ones. Keeping the logs secret makes it more difficult for the American public to know who’s seeking favors from the administration and leveraging the prestige and power of the White House for their own benefit." (POLITICO Magazine)
  • It's hard to tell how much it costs for President Trump to travel every weekend. "But the White House makes it hard for taxpayers to know anything about the costs. Trump and his aides are mum when asked for an accounting. Past attempts by government auditors to gauge the costs of presidential travel have been sketchy, fragmentary and outdated." (Associated Press)
  • Jared Kushner's sister apologized for mentioning him while pitching "investor visa", development deal at Beijing event. "A company owned by Jared Kushner’s family is apologizing for mentioning him during an investment conference in China. Nicole Kushner Meyer referenced her brother, who is now a White House adviser, during an event in Beijing last Saturday." (The Hill)

states and cities

Image Credit: Bob Gradeck
  • Illinois Senate moves to protect personal information collected online. "The state Senate on Thursday approved the groundbreaking Right to Know Act, a measure that would require online companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon to disclose to consumers what data about them has been collected and shared with third parties." (Government Technology)
  • Making open data inclusive, attractive, and impactful in South Bend, Indiana. "The next stage of open data is expanding what cities share and providing context and tools to make open data more inclusive and attractive, and therefore more impactful. This shift requires us to recall the movement’s roots in open government and to retain a share of the responsibility for what happens once data is accessible. This is not meant to water down open data at all, but to make the conversation much richer, more vibrant, and more in sync with its objectives." (Data-Smart City Solutions)
  • Technology is key to fighting NYC's homelessness epidemic. "The effort will also require having the technology in place to ensure that work happens as efficiently as possible. To that end, the city is rolling out a new tool, StreetSmart, aims to give city agencies and non-profit groups a comprehensive view of all of the data being collected on New York’s homeless on a daily basis." (Wired)

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 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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