Reintroduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate on March 29, 2017, the Open, Permanent, Electronic, and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act (S. 760 / H.R. 1770) is a bill to codify former President Obama’s Executive Order making “open and machine readable” the default for all government data. The sponsors of the legislation are Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX), Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE).

The bill would institutionalize the federal government’s commitment to Open Data, and codify a policy of  “open by default” for all government data. The bipartisan legislation would require federal agencies to publish government data in machine-readable and open formats and use open licenses. In addition, it would direct agencies to support innovative uses of government data, adopt consistent data practices across government, and develop best practices for Open Data.

On December 5, 2016, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its cost estimate for the OPEN Government Data Act stating the bill “would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits.”

RECENT ACTION: On September 27, 2017, this bill was voted out of the Senate as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA is now in the process of being conferenced with the House version of the legislation. Passage of a compromise NDAA is expected to place in November/December 2017.

On July 24, 2017, the OPEN Government Data Act was favorably voted out of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs.


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