The White House’s new Executive Order may be significantly different than the open data policies that have come before it on the federal level, but where does it stand in a global -- and local -- context? Many folks have already jumped at the chance to compare this new US executive order and the new policies that accompany it to a similar public letter issued by UK Prime Minister David Cameron in 2010, but little attention has been paid to one of the new policy’s most substantial provisions: the creation of a public listing of agency data based on an internal audits of information holdings. As administrative as this provision might sound, the creation of this listing (and the accompanying scoping of what information isn’t yet public, but could be released) is part of the next evolution of open data policies (and something Sunlight has long called for as a best practice). So does this policy put the U.S. on the leading edge? Continue reading
Open Data Executive Order Shows Path Forward
Today, the White House is issuing a new Executive Order on Open Data -- one that is significantly different from the open data policies that have come before it -- reflecting Sunlight's persistent call for stronger public listings of agency data, and demonstrating a new path forward for governments committing to open data. This Executive Order and the new policies that accompany it cover a lot of ground, building public reporting systems, adding new goals, creating new avenues for public participation, and laying out new principles for openness, much of which can be found in Sunlight's extensive Open Data Policy Guidelines, and the work of our friends and allies. Most importantly, though, the new policies take on one of the most important, trickiest questions that these policies face -- how can we reset the default to openness when there is so much data? How can we take on managing and releasing all the government's data, or as much as possible, without negotiating over every dataset the government has?Continue reading
Key elements of food safety law stuck at White House regulatory agency
Regulations designed to improve food safety have been languishing in an obscure White House office.Continue reading
Why are efforts to regulate potentially hazardous plastics stalled?
In late 2009, when Lisa Jackson, at the time President Barack Obama's new head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), invoked a long-existing but never-before-used power to to create a list of "chemicals of concern," the administration appeared to be putting chemical companies on notice that it planned to be aggressive about regulating risks from exposure to the industry's product. Jackson's list included eight of the common plasticizers known as "phthalates" that have been shown to cause to reproductive abnormalities in animal studies and that have also been linked to health problems in humans. They are used ...Continue reading
A Sunshine Week Call for Greater Transparency
As part of Sunshine week, I had the opportunity to testify at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing to share a few of Sunlight's ideas about making the executive branch more transparent. Video and text of my opening statement are below. It almost goes without saying that we're very interested in the transparency bills the Oversight Committee will be marking up this Wednesday.
Fix Federal Rulemaking Lobbying Transparency
The greatest concentration of regulatory power is housed in a little known office deep inside the executive branch’s bureaucracy. In... View ArticleContinue reading
The President’s Super-Regulators: What’s next for OIRA?
The public is invited to attend a panel discussion on federal rulemaking that will focus on the Office of Information... View ArticleContinue reading
How to Count Regulations: A Primer for Regulatory Research
Data and Research Intern Alex Engler wrote this post. The regulatory process is a politically charged arena, where the perception of over-regulating, or not regulating enough, can become a political liability. Whether it’s Tom Donohue of the Chamber of Commerce warning of the oncoming “tsunami” of regulations from President Obama, or the National Resource Defense Council striking at the Bush administration for an “assault on our clean air protections,” there can be no doubt that the perceived level of regulation matters. However, one should look skeptically towards assertions about the degree of rulemaking, especially when those assertions include specific numbers. These claims are often based on research that can be structured so as to intentionally mislead. And beyond the political motivation in how one measures regulatory action, there are also many opportunities for genuine methodological error.Continue reading
New Federal Technology Strategy: Vision and Omission
Yesterday, the Obama administration made a few new announcements about its vision for technology in government. Between the Presidential Memorandum,... View ArticleContinue reading
Sunlight and Allies to Department of Labor: No Website Scrubbing
The following letter was just sent to the Department of Labor, on behalf of Sunlight and a number of our... View ArticleContinue reading