WASHINGTON–The Center for Data Innovation applauded the unanimous passage of the bipartisan Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act in the U.S. Senate. The bill, introduced by Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Ben Sasse (R-NE), cannot move forward in 2016, but can be reintroduced in both the House and Senate after the 115th Congress is sworn in on January 3, 2017. The Center issued the following statement from Director Daniel Castro:
We commend the Senate for passing the OPEN Government Data Act, which would ensure the public and private sectors alike can take advantage of the substantial economic and social value of open government data. Though the bill’s passage comes after the 114th House of Representatives has already departed, the Senate’s willingness to support the bill in the final hours of its session should send a strong signal to the incoming Congress that there is momentum and bipartisan support to pass the OPEN Government Data Act in the first days of its session.
The OPEN Government Data Act would codify and improve existing open data requirements to ensure that federal government agencies release valuable data sets, follow best practices, and commit to openness by default. In addition, by quickly passing the legislation in 2017, Congress will signal to developers and investors that open data will remain a permanent responsibility of the U.S. government regardless of changing political winds, creating less risk for those who may want to build apps or services using the data.
The Center for Data Innovation was the first think tank to call attention to the need for comprehensive federal legislation to secure the future of open data, and we are pleased to see that the Senate gave the bill the recognition it deserves. We urge policymakers, particularly Senators Schatz and Sasse and Representatives Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Blake Farenthold (R-TX), who introduced the bill in the House, to ensure the re-introduction and swift passage of the OPEN Government Data Act by the 115th Congress.