While legislation (HB 46) to make the State Treasurer’s open checkbook permanent has moved on from passage in the Ohio House to hearings in the Senate, another set of transparency practices related to standardizing government open data of all kinds will get support at an Ohio House State Government Committee meeting today at 2pm from Portage County Chief Information Officer, Brian Kelley. It involves the State Librarian and the State Auditor.
I am honored to be testifying at the Ohio State House today before the DataOhio Committee on House Bill 130 related to government “Open Data”:
To amend section 149.43 and to enact sections
117.432, 149.60, 149.62, and 149.65 of the
Revised Code to create the DataOhio Board, to
specify requirements for posting public records
online, to require the Auditor of State to adopt
rules regarding a uniform accounting system for
public offices, to establish an online catalog
of public data at data.Ohio.gov, to establish
the Local Government Information Exchange Grant
Program, and to make an appropriation. – Sponsored by Representatives Duffey and Hagan
I first learned about Brian when I was working on efficient government networking. He was easily one of the most recognizable figures in Northeast Ohio when it came to government open data interest, practices and understanding. You can also read Crain’s description of him in their CIO of the Year 2015 publication to learn more about his background and pedigree for testifying at the state level on open data needs.
The bill itself is comprehensive and walks the line between what should be mandatory (directed to state entities) and what would be discretionary (directed to all other political subdivisions) participation in open data. You can read the analysis of the bill here.
Separate from that analysis are the fiscal notes. In that document, we see where the mandatory part is – and it relates to appropriations, one potential sticking point although hopefully one that can be overcome with understanding the ROI on such progress:
The bill establishes the Local Government Innovation Exchange Grants Program to be administered by the State Librarian. The program will provide $10,000 grants to local government entities that meet eligibility requirements to be established by the State Librarian. These requirements include the posting of electronic records on the Internet in an open format that can be accessed by the public. The bill appropriates $12.25 million in both FY 2016 and FY 2017 for these grants. In addition, the bill appropriates $250,000 to the State Library Board for the administration of the program.
The bill directs the Auditor of State to develop uniform accounting procedures and charts of accounts that may be used by all public offices. Under the bill, the use of these procedures and accounts is not required; however, within four years of the bill’s effective date, the Auditor must propose legislation establishing such a requirement. In FY 2017, $350,000 is appropriated to the Auditor for the development of these procedures and charts. The bill also requires the Auditor to establish and operate a website, registered at data.Ohio.gov through which the public can access public records created by state government and other public offices. Creation and maintenance of the website will increase the Auditor’s administrative burden.
There are no statements in the fiscal notes related to the cost to local governments, though there is mention of the grant money that will be extended to them to assist with going open.
The activity in the state government around open data is increasing, just as it is increasing locally. It’s all very exciting. Hopefully we will soon be past the era of ad hoc piloting and closer to having a statewide digital strategy, open data policy and implementation plan.