Legislation mandates statewide open data portal, creates communities of practice

Published On: September 9, 2019

Legislation proposes to mandates a statewide open data portal and requires state and local agencies to post data, although its future is in question after it was held last month in the Senate Appropriations Committee as part of the “suspense file” where many bills with fiscal impact live or die in the final hours of the legislative session.  The legislative session ends at midnight on September 13.

AB 802 by Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay) creates a statutory requirement for the California Department of Technology to host an open data portal.   The bill also calls for the created of a community of practice to help govern policies, standards and privacy related to data.

The bill would create potentially significant costs, “ranging from the hundreds of thousands of dollars to the low millions to various state departments and agencies to fulfill the requirements of
this bill. State entities that produce and distribute a greater volume of mandated reports, and entities that produce reports with protected information would need additional resources to properly comply with the provision of this bill.” according to the committee analysis.

While the Government Operations Agency currently sponsors the state website data.ca.gov which hosts datasets by 42 state agencies, this bill will require state and local agencies to use this or another designated site to publish open data online.

From the analysis:

Proposed Law: This bill would require, by January 1, 2021, CDT to establish and maintain a statewide open data portal. Specifically, this bill would:

  • Require the Portal to include a link to the internet website of any agency that publishes its data on that website;
  • Require, by October 1, 2020, CDT, in collaboration with GovOps, to create a community of practice dedicated to the following objectives: – Developing and recommending statewide governance and policy regarding data standards, data storage, and data privacy; – Fostering a culture of data use by enabling and encouraging agencies to safely and securely share data to collaborate on common issues and related programs; – Developing programs, and evaluating and enhancing existing programs, to provide training on data management and open data practices; – Employing and analyzing operational data to improve open data practices and online infrastructure supporting the publication of government data;
  • Require CDT, in consultation and collaboration with the established community of practice, to maintain and update the Portal as needed to improve its utility;
  • Require that a report required or requested by law to be submitted by a state or local agency to the Members of either house of the Legislature, instead be submitted electronically to the Secretary of the Senate, the Chief Clerk of the Assembly, and the Legislative Counsel, as specified;
  • Require each report to include a summary of its contents, not to exceed one page in length, and require notice of receipt of the report to be recorded in the journal of the appropriate house or houses of the Legislature by the secretary or clerk of that house, and provide that a report shall not be distributed to Members of the Legislature unless specifically requested by that Member;
  • Require that for any state agency report involving the collection or analysis of data, the datasets used to generate the report be posted on the Portal in a machinereadable format, as specified;
  • Define “agency” as any city, county, special district, department, board, bureau, or commission, including any task force or other similar body that is created by statute or resolution, excluding the University of California.

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