Monday, May 2, 2011

A strong step for congressional openness and accountability



(Cross-posted from the Google Public Sector Blog.)

Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor took another strong step towards an open and accountable Congress, calling for better access to House legislative data in a letter to the Clerk of the House:
“...Openness, once a proud tradition of the House, is again the new standard. At the start of the 112th Congress, the House adopted a Rules Package that identified electronic documents as a priority for the institution. Towards that end, we are asking all House stakeholders to work together on publicly releasing the House’s legislative data in machine-readable formats...Ultimately, legislative data is the property of the American public. It is our hope that these reforms will continue to rebuild the trust between Congress and the people we serve.”
Open, standard data formats are fundamental to helping engineers, entrepreneurs and citizens access and use legislative information. We applaud Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor for their continued leadership on transparency.

Across industries, we’ve seen how well organized information can improve operations and reduce spending. In the same way that barcodes made merchandise easier to track and supply chains more efficient, using standardized machine-readable formats will be a large step in improving transparency around lawmaking.

And one day, it will be as simple for citizens to understand and track a bill as School House Rock makes it look:

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