sean roberts edited this page Mar 22, 2018 · 8 revisions


Many open data implementations are the result of good management and their policies. But any good policy can be modified by a change in management. To make good policy permanent, the policy must be made into a law. The law must cover just enough detail to establish a framework that the open data implementation can be built upon.

Objectives broken down into two parts:

  • Existing Open Data Legislation with analysis (index)
  • Model Open Data Legislation (how-to, implementation)

Existing Open Data Legislation

  • Index found here
  • List sourced from , , and
  • There are many legislation sources that many change, so we must document the source, and copy open data legislation to our github index, so the legislation can be used by users and analysis can be documented. Perhaps we could spin off a open data index project and partner with Sunlight Foundation on the site?
  • We create a subset index of the transparency policies found in the Transparency Report project. Transparency report scores the implementation of open data portals. The open data legislation project scores the policy and law that governs the open data portals.
  • Published scoring found here
  • Each separate piece of legislation in the index displays a number of fields to explain what the legislation represents along with the score of how complete it is.

Model Open Data Legislation

  • 1H 2018 Project Objectives

    • Open Data Legislation Guiding Principals (reasons)
    • Open Data Legislation Framework (key components)
    • Technical Implementation Specifications / Outline (e.g. dataohio board)
    • Implementation Budgeting Guidelines (e.g. competitive bidding driving standardization, reducing costs through automation [yearly audits, FOIA requests], driving down the cost of local governments)
    • Review and contrast published State Open Data Legislation
    • Publish ODI States and Municipal open data legislation with updated revisions at least twice annually
    • Collaborate with Government and Policy organizations
  • We have broken the model legislation down into two parts

  • We collaborate in the open using this wiki, github repository, mailing list discussions, and public meetings. We find experienced people like Duffey and Robb that have been working on the problem of turning good policy into good law. We publish results of our work at least once every six months for public review.


  • We have not started publicly meeting yet. Email the mailing list below your interest and we can schedule a regular time to start meeting.
  • We will always publicly post the meeting agenda and details here.

Discuss Tools on the Mailing List

Notes on California

  • Find here a collection of references for right now. As we get organized, this page will reflect that.
  • Cal Policy Center Transparency post from 2017
  • California Public Records Act of October 10, 2015
    • State Analysis
    • Open Data Transparency using CA 2015 AB169
      • Government finances highlight the baseline for effective governance. Maintaining open finance data makes that effective governance possible. Past efforts at publishing government budgets have made information irregularly available. By adopting CAFR (Comprehensive Annual Financial Report) standards supported by the GASB (Government Accounting Standards Board), governmental entities can ensure that public will receive regular, well understood finance details. By California law, California Public Records Act 2015 AB169, any data to be be publicly available is required to follow four directives.
      • Local California municipal laws should not only follow these four directives, but also include basic implementation details I have included below:
      • By directive 1 of CA 2015 AB169: Is retrievable, downloadable, indexable, and electronically searchable by commonly used Internet search applications. This directive applies to making google and other search engines aware of the open data website, but also configuring the website to support internet search engine indexing. Making data "retrievable, downloadable" must also apply to the open data website supporting the delimited formats csv (comma delimited) and txt (tab delimited) as well as the methods JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) and API (Application Programing Interface).
      • By directive 2 of CA 2015 AB169: Is platform independent and machine readable. This directive modifies the directive 1 implementation above, mandating that the formats and methods be abstracted from any operating system, programing language, or other rescrictions. The formats and methods available must be self explanatory.
      • By directive 3 of CA 2015 AB169: Is available to the public free of charge and without any restriction that would impede the reuse or redistribution of the public record. This directive mandates that any restrictions to the Public's data is deemed illegitimate. This does not allow for any limits due to hardship. There may be some modifications to verify here
      • By directive 4 of CA 2015 AB169: Retains the data definitions and structure present when the data was compiled, if applicable. This directive is requiring the data not be modified in such a way that it's original intent is lost or compromised. This will require transparency from and collaboration with the government entity that has created the open data. Perhaps this is where working closely with the GASB will pay the biggest dividends.
      • We have summarized CA 2015 AB169 into 5 open finance data requirements:
        • Easy to use website with data on all expenditures without restrictions. Without restrictions such as fees, requests for access, or limited explanation of content.
        • All state and municipal datasets are collated into a single pane, e.g. a One stop database and /or website.
        • Capacity to download all data in delimited formats (csv and txt) and data interchange methods (JSON and API) allowing for easy manipulation
        • Original intent of the data structures are retained
        • Data schemes and techniques for visualization are provided with the databases.
      • An open data CAFR applies transparency to public finances. This concept allows the public to truly collaborate with the government.
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