Mission Statement:

OpenLegislation.org is a “Fifty State Project to OpenLegislation to You the People.” We hope to continue our mission of “Setting Your Legislation and Laws FREE, One State at a Time.” Our project will seek electronic copies of legislation and laws from States, place them behind a frontend like OpenCongress or PublicMarkUp as well as making the data available in raw format through bulk downloads of a CSV, Excel or SQL export in keeping with the 8 principles of open data.

OGF Testifies on the Importance of “Context” and Public Domain

Open Government Foundation is proud to have testified at a hearing of the New York State Legislature Joint Advisory Board on the Broadcast of State Government Proceedings chaired by Senator Jose Serrano and Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari on their recent report calling for am Independent State Government Public Affairs Channel modeled after C-SPAN. Current cable television listings for legislative proceedings can be found here.

Our testimony provided a vision for the future and called for:

  • Vision for the Future
    • One Stop Shopping for Legislation
    • Accessibility Standards for the Disabled and Limited English Proficiency Communities
    • Linking Legislation to YouTube Content through Deep Linking
    • TV Guide for the Legislative Television Channel
    • Explaining Legislation to Viewers
  • Rules and Freedom of Information Reform
    • Public Domain
    • Non-Discrimination
    • Freedom of Information

Our full testimony is available Online in PDF or anYouTube.




Our testimony can be found at the 47 minute mark.

Testimony before NYS Legislature Joint Advisory Board on the Broadcast of State Government Proceedings

Continue reading Testimony before NYS Legislature Joint Advisory Board on the Broadcast of State Government Proceedings

OGF Testifies on the Importance of Transparency for Network Neutrality

OGF is proud to have testified before the New York City Council Committee on Technology and Government Chaired by Council Member Gale Brewer on Resolution Number 712-A of 2007 on National Network Neutrality Rules.  Our testimony supported the addition of non-discrimination and transparency to the Federal Communications Commission’s 2005 Internet Policy Statement to keep the Internet “free and open” best summarized as “any lawful content, any lawful application, any lawful device, any provider,” the codification of these principles and their expansion to include non-wired broadband Internet access providers, and opposed “managed” or “special” services.  We also called upon the New York City Council to use its power more proactively to amend current resolutions to require the Mayor and the Franchise and Concession Review Committee to make Network Neutrality and Universal Broadband important parts of any future cable, phone and wireless franchises in New York City.

An excerpt focusing on transparency from our testimony:

“What is ground breaking about [the transparency] principle is the opportunity to codify a concept of accountability to both the end user and the fellow community, in a broad departure from typical accountability that is only to a regulating agency.

As a non-profit dedicated to transparency, accountability and openness, we strongly support these two new principles, which together would scale back behavior that currently threaten a free and open Internet.  We also believe the codification of such principles would help to begin an era of transparency, accountability and impart the concept of responsibility of a service provider to the consumer and the larger global community.”

Testimony available in PDF or Audio (MP3).

Voting Records Updated to September 14, 2009

VoterSearch.org which provides New Yorkers with the ability to verify their vote has been updated to September 14, 2009. Are you sure that you can vote?

Check How Often Your Legislator Votes Independently

Today, Open Government Foundation, Inc., announced the ability to check how often New York City and State Legislators vote independently along with viewing past and current legislation, attendance, and voting records at NewYork.OpenLegislation.org.

“We released how often legislators cast what type of votes and how often these votes coincided with their legislative body’s leadership. The numbers show that leadership makes nearly all the decisions for their legislative bodies with only infrequent dissension, even from the loyal opposition,” said Jeff Greenberg, CPA, the organization’s Chief Financial Officer.

“Although Albany has three men in a room and the City has a man and a woman in a room, at least we can vote the Governor or Mayor out of office in both places. Unfortunately, unless you live in the Speaker’s district there isn’t much you can do to have your voice heard by what our numbers show to be the sole decision maker in the legislature,” said Rebecca Green Neale, one of the co-Founders.

NewYork.OpenLegislation.org was created in response to the need for publicly available information about the legislative process and the growing outcry ignited by the Brennan Center for Justice in its 2004 report, The New York State Legislative Process: An Evaluation and Blueprint for Reform. In its 2008 update, Still Broken: New York State Legislative Reform 2008 Update, the Center denounced the secrecy of the legislative process and criticized the unavailability of important legislative information, which can often be obtained only through burdensome, costly requests under Freedom of Information Law. In response to the Brennan Center’s specific request that committees “publish all of their work on the Internet, including attendance records, vote records, and debate transcripts,” Open Government Foundation stepped in to fill the hole that the Legislature has left gaping for years.

“In an open, free democracy it shouldn’t be up to the legislature to decide what information is important enough to be released to the citizens for free,” said co-founder Thom Neale. “Instead, all relevant data should be released in its entirety, and the citizens should be empowered to decide what information they will consume, when they will consume it, how, where and why.”

Open Government Foundation, Inc. (“OGF”) is a New York State not-for-profit devoted to making government transparent, accountable and open by making legislative information available for free over the internet. “Our mission is simple: wherever the state legislature neglects to release critical legislative data to the public, whether through apathy, indifference, or impracticability, we will step in and use every means available to release the information for free ourselves,” added Thom Neale.

NYS Senate Commitee Attendance (1999-2008)

OpenLegislation.org is proud to announce the addition of New York State Senate committee attendance for 1999 through 2008 to NewYork.OpenLegislation.org.

OGF Testifies on Open Data

OpenLegislation.org is proud to have testified before the New York City Council Committee on Technology and Government Chaired by Council Member Gale Brewer on Introuction Number 991 of 2009: Open Data Standards. Our testmony called for the adoption of the eight principles of open data, summarized existing freedom of information law and associated 25 cent per page costs, a ninety day waiting period OpenLegislation.org has encountered with the New York City Council, and the affect of current bariers to government information on development of websites and applications to facilitate transpareny, accountability and openness in government.

Testimony can be downloaded here or viewed on YouTube.

Check Your State Legislator’s Voting and Attendance Online for FREE

Today, Open Government Foundation, Inc., announced the availability of voting records for the New York State Assembly and Senate from 1995 to June 12, 2009, with the launch of its beta site NewYork.OpenLegislation.org.

Also available on the site is a collection of free, searchable/sortable/filterable bill tracking RSS feeds as well as the Legislature’s 2008 attendance records for the Floors and Committees in PDF format. New information is added on an ongoing basis as records are released from the Legislature.

“With so much upheaval in Albany and Senators walking a tight rope where every vote matters, we believe NewYork.OpenLegislation.org has arrived just in time to make a difference and show you how every representative’s vote affects you and your family,” said Benjamin Kallos, one of the co-Founders.

NewYork.OpenLegislation.org was created in response to the need for publicly available information about the legislative process and the growing outcry ignited by the Brennan Center for Justice in its 2004 report, The New York State Legislative Process: An Evaluation and Blueprint for Reform. In its 2008 update, Still Broken: New York State Legislative Reform 2008 Update, the Center denounced the secrecy of the legislative process and criticized the unavailability of important legislative information, which can often be obtained only through burdensome, costly requests under Freedom of Information Law. In response to the Brennan Center’s specific request that committees “publish all of their work on the Internet, including attendance records, vote records, and debate transcripts,” Open Government Foundation stepped in to fill the hole that the Legislature has left gaping for years.

“In an open, free democracy it shouldn’t be up to the legislature to decide what information is important enough to be released to the citizens for free,” said co-founder Thom Neale. “Instead, all relevant data should be released in its entirety, and the citizens should be empowered to decide what information they will consume, when they will consume it, how, where and why.”

Open Government Foundation, Inc. (“OGF”) is a New York State not-for-profit devoted to making government transparent, accountable and open by making legislative information available for free over the internet. “Our mission is simple: wherever the state legislature neglects to release critical legislative data to the public, whether through apathy, indifference, or impracticability, we will step in and use every means available to release the information for free ourselves,” added Thom Neale.

The organization is seeking grants and private donations to fulfill its mandate to acquire legislative documents and provide them online to the public for free– ensuring that no one else will have to pay for them in the future. To join the team or advisory board, or to contribute or request a specific document, please visit: NewYork.OpenLegislation.org. Donations are not yet tax deductible.

NewYork.OpenLegislation.org Launched

OpenLegislation.org is proud to announce its first New York State Legislative Tools and Public Records are now online at NewYork.OpenLegislation.org where you can track current legislation through our Unofficial NYS Assembly Bill Tracking (RSS), look up floor votes on any legislation since 1995, for the first time available to the general public, or check on your Assembly or Senate Member’s Attendance. This is just the beginning, with much more to follow. Join the team!.

DataGov_Tweets Launched

In response to President Obama’s launch of DATA.GOV, and the Sunlight Foundation’s Apps for America 2: The Data.gov Challenge, OpenLegislation.org created a Twitter feed for DATA.GOV called datagov_tweets using the Unofficial DATA.GOV feed from Sunlight Labsopen source library.

datagov_tweets is updated on a regular basis and provides a notice that new information has been added, a hyperlink, and the name of the new data set.