BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                     AB 169

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          169 (Maienschein)

          As Amended  June 18, 2015

          Majority vote

          |ASSEMBLY:  | 77-0 | (May 7, 2015) |SENATE: |40-0  | (August 24,     |
          |           |      |               |        |      |2015)            |
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          |           |      |               |        |      |                 |

          Original Committee Reference:  L. GOV.

          SUMMARY:  Requires local agencies to use specified open data  
          standards if they maintain an Internet Resource that is  
          described or titled as "open data" and if they choose to post  
          public records on that Internet Resource.

          The Senate amendments clarify that, if a local agency, except a  
          school district, maintains an Internet Resource, including, but  
          not limited to, an Internet Web site, Internet Web page, or  
          Internet Web portal, which the local agency describes or titles  
          as "open data," and the local agency voluntarily posts a public  
          record on that Internet Resource, the local agency must comply  
          with the provisions of this bill.

          FISCAL EFFECT:  According to the Senate Appropriations  
          Committee, pursuant to Senate Rule 28.8, negligible state costs.


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          1)Bill Summary.  This bill requires local agencies that maintain  
            an Internet Resource described as "open data" and that choose  
            to post public records on that Internet Resource to use a  
            format that:

             a)   Is retrievable, downloadable, indexable, and  
               electronically searchable by commonly used Internet search  

             b)   Is platform independent and machine readable;

             c)   Is available to the public free of charge and without  
               any restriction that would impede the reuse or  
               redistribution of the public record; and,

             d)   Retains the data definitions and structure present when  
               the data was compiled, if applicable.

            This bill is sponsored by the author.

          2)Author's Statement.  According to the author, "Key information  
            maintained by local governments, from business licenses to  
            council agendas and budgets, are frequently kept in file  
            formats that make them difficult to find or analyze using  
            contemporary internet tools and other technology.  The  
            guidelines for posting these documents predate the Xerox  

            "Making local government data available online using open  
            standards will increase transparency and make operations more  
            effective and accountable to the public.  It will streamline  


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            communication between government agencies, both state and  
            local, and vastly improve accessibility for the public.   
            Making the information electronically searchable will also  
            permit the public to assist in identifying efficient solutions  
            for government, create economic opportunities and promote  
            innovation and accountability at the local level.

            "Critically, this bill does not mandate such action, but  
            establishes key standards for agencies seeking to modernize  
            their disclosure practices.  This promotes common standards,  
            based on best practices utilized by governments across the U.S  
            [United States] and throughout the world.  Adopting these  
            standards will ensure that government information is  
            accessible, interoperable and easily utilized by the public."

          3)Background.  The Open Data movement is rapidly growing in  
            popularity and recognition, both nationally and in California.  
             Computer technology has advanced to provide open format  
            software, which allows electronic documents created and  
            maintained by public agencies to be searched, indexed, and  
            redacted electronically.  

            In 2009, in order to increase government agency  
            accountability, promote informed public participation, and  
            create economic opportunity through expanding access to  
            information online in open formats, the United States Director  
            of the Office of Management and Budget issued an Open  
            Government Directive to federal government agencies.  This  
            Directive provided guidelines to public agencies responding to  
            public requests under the Freedom of Information Act and  
            instructed federal government agencies to "publish information  
            online in an open format that can be retrieved, downloaded,  
            indexed, and searched by commonly used web search  

          4)Arguments in Support.  The Sunlight Foundation, in support,  
            writes, "Sunlight feels that AB 169 will increase the  
            accessibility of local open data by providing a useful  


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            definition of what 'open' really means for municipalities that  
            want to join the open data movement.  By offering a clear  
            definition of open data as 'retrievable, downloadable,  
            indexable, and electronically searchable by commonly used  
            Internet search applications;' 'platform independent and  
            machine readable;' and 'available to the public free of charge  
            and without any restriction that would impede the reuse or  
            redistribution of the public record' AB 169 promotes a set of  
            elements that are broadly recognized to be the core of what it  
            means to make data open.  In addition, by recommending that  
            information released 'retain[s] the data definitions and  
            structure present when the data was compiled,' AB 169 supports  
            the public provision of good-quality, usable data through  
            ensuring that whatever contextual information was originally  
            available with the data remains present in its public-facing  

            "Increasing the amount of available, good quality open data is  
            an important goal for California to pursue as a state.   
            California is already rich in local open data expertise that  
            can help local data's value spread rapidly.  The state  
            features the leadership of municipal open data programs in San  
            Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Sacramento (and West  
            Sacramento) and San Diego, and a new county-wide open data  
            initiative recently came online in Los Angeles County.   
            Individual state agencies have (also) demonstrated their  
            strong interest in opening state data? While not a mandate for  
            activity by local governments, AB 169 would establish a needed  
            framework for managing information and ensuring those  
            governments making their data 'open' will do so in a way that  
            maximizes the utility and interoperability of this  

          5)Arguments in Opposition.  None on file.

          Analysis Prepared by:                                             
                          Angela Mapp / L. GOV. / (916) 319-3958  FN:  


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