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Assembly Committee Approves Open Data Bill
June 20, 2012
Legislation will ensure public documents are provided in searchable format
SACRAMENTO – On a 10-3 vote, the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee today approved SB 1002 to provide greater access to government records, specifically requiring public documents and data that are electronically available to be user-friendly and searchable by commonly used software.
“Producing a 2,000 page electronic document that cannot be searched or sorted is inadequate and almost useless,” said Yee. “For too long, many government agencies – either by choice or inertia – have been living in the Stone Age when it comes to producing public documents. SB 1002 will finally bring public agencies into the 21st century.”
Often when government agencies post electronic records online or provide electronic copies of documents in response to a public records request, the data provided is simply a scanned graphic image file that is not searchable or able to be sorted, even though the agency has the file in a searchable format.
Under Yee’s bill, such electronic documents would need to be produced in an open source file, word processing document, spreadsheet, database, or other format in which keywords or other data fields could be easily searched using commonly used software, which is often the format internally used by the public agency.
“The committee today recognized the need for government agencies to deliver information to the public in an efficient, modern format,” said Jim Ewert, General Counsel for the California Newspaper Publishers Association. “SB 1002 will set the benchmark for transparency and government oversight in the 21st century.”
“With today’s vote, California agencies and its citizens are an important step closer to realizing the benefits of Open Data, including reduced IT costs and the development of next generation applications that will increase civic engagement and enhance public safety,” said David Cruise of San Francisco Tech Dems.
In addition to CNPA and SF Tech Dems, SB 1002 is supported by Californians Aware, California Faculty Association, California Teachers Association, Common Cause, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, UAW 5810, United Reporting Crime Beat News, and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.
Next week, SB 1002 will be considered by the Assembly Local Government Committee.
Contact: Adam J. Keigwin,