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Legislation

Brewer, Vacca bringing “Open Data Law 2.0” to Council hearing tomorrow

NEW YORK – Tomorrow, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and New York City Council Member James Vacca will bring Intro 1707, a bill upgrading the City’s first-in-the-nation Open Data Law, to the City Council for a public hearing. Council Member Vacca, who chairs the Technology Committee, will lead the hearing and sponsors the legislation in partnership with Borough President Brewer, who authored the city’s original Open Data Law.
 
“On the surface, it’s hard to think of two things that look and feel more different than legislation and technology, but both laws and software need to be tested, refined, and rebuilt with new features over time,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “This bill will help us build on what the Open Data Law has already made possible, by making compliance easier for City agencies and improving technical standards for the data we publish. I look forward to hearing what the administration and advocates have to say about Open Data 2.0, and I thank Chairman Vacca for his partnership on this bill and our city’s open data policy as a whole.”
 
“The original Open Data Law that Manhattan Borough President Brewer helped enact was a landmark piece of legislation,” said Council Member James Vacca, Chair of the New York City Council Committee on Technology. “Over the past 5 years, our City has remained at the forefront of the global open data movement, and this new legislation will ensure the City’s open data offerings continue to improve well into the future. I look forward to working with the administration, advocates, and the Manhattan Borough President on moving this bill forward.”
 
With the passage of the original Open Data Law in 2012, New York City became the first municipality in the nation to require government agencies make their non-confidential data sets publicly available online, in machine-readable formats. So far more than 1,500 data sets have been published, containing more than 750 million rows of data. This data has given birth to a wealth of new possibilities for academic research, businesses, and app development, as well as a new and growing “civic hacking” community in New York.
 
The Brewer-Vacca bill before the Council’s Technology Committee tomorrow would make the following changes:

• Improving technical standards for open data sets by: 
 – Establishing a two-year schedule for the review of the Open Data Technical Standards Manual.
 – Mandating that the review produce a public report, which will include any changes to the Technical Standards Manual.
• Requiring the development of a process to allow public comment on changes to the Technical Standards Manual.
• Extending the Open Data Law, setting a 2021 deadline for agency compliance.
• Adjusting periodic compliance reporting dates to dovetail with the natural compliance cycle that has emerged since agencies began finding, preparing, and publishing data sets after the passage of the original Open Data Law.
• Codifying the requirement that each agency have an Open Data Coordinator responsible for ensuring compliance with the law.
• Requiring collection, analysis, and public reporting of analytics on the use of the Open Data Portal.
Representatives of the Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics, the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, Reinvent Albany, and BetaNYC are expected to testify at tomorrow’s hearing on the bill. The hearing will also serve as an opportunity for the Council to conduct oversight on the de Blasio Administration’s Annual Open Data Plan.
 
Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer served as the founding chair of the City Council Committee on Technology during her time on the New York City Council. She is the author of New York City’s Open Data Law and a noted advocate for the use of technology in government, government transparency, and New York’s growing civic technology sector.
 
Council Member James Vacca represents the East Bronx and has served as the Chair of the City Council Committee on Technology since 2014. He has been a passionate advocate for government transparency and accountability, and sponsored two amendments to strengthen the City’s Open Data laws.