Making Access to Public Records Easier: Support California’s SB 1002!
May 24, 2012
By: Kelsey Rugani
SB 1002 is a California bill that would require government records disclosed electronically to be made accessible in machine-readable formats. The bill was introduced by State Senator Leland Yee last February.
After many committee sessions where it was approved to re-refer the bill to either the Senate Judiciary Committee or the Senate Appropriations Committee five different times. After being put in the "suspense file" by the Appropriations Committee, Dave Cruise announced via SFTechDems that the "Senate Appropriations Committee moved SB1002 off the suspense file, and it is now headed to the Senate floor next week for a full vote." Hopefully, this represents a shift toward seeing more usable data and transparency tools in government as a movement toward government efficiency and accountability rather than simply as another task for public agencies.
Here's a sample support letter that you can use to show your support for SB 1002:
SB1002 – A Small Step Towards Open Government
Supporters of the bill believe it is a step in the right direction to make public records more accessible and user-friendly. SB 1002 requires agencies to provide an electronic format of a public document when requested – at the requester’s expense. The agency would not be required to reproduce a document if it does not have it in an existing electronic form.
San Francisco has its own Sunshine Ordinance that gives greater access to public recorders by requiring city agencies to respond within 72 hours.