Ownership, evictions, and violations: an overview of housing data use cases

Cities from coast to coast are grappling with major challenges in providing safe and adequate housing for their residents, as developers continue to build in luxury condominiums and affordable options dwindle.  In the face of this struggle, civic hackers and housing advocates use open data to collaborate to develop tools to protect renters’ rights and … Read moreOwnership, evictions, and violations: an overview of housing data use cases

An open data maturity scale for cities to find right-sized solutions

Local governments are often ambitious when it comes to innovating around open data and civic technology — they envision highly developed tools and open data products that will change the way communities solve problems. But sometimes open data projects fall flat because of any number of challenges: data isn’t usable, data is hard for users … Read moreAn open data maturity scale for cities to find right-sized solutions

New InfoMod Appointment System Creates Confusion and Delay for Immigrants and Attorneys

A naturalization ceremony is held at the Grand Canyon in 2010. NPS Photo by Michael Quinn USCIS replaces an overloaded online system with an overloaded phone system A new appointment system launched by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is leading to unnecessary complications, immigration attorneys told the Web Integrity Project. Rolled out rapidly … Read moreNew InfoMod Appointment System Creates Confusion and Delay for Immigrants and Attorneys

Today in OpenGov: Conflicting information

Editor’s note: Today’s edition will be the last until August 26th. See you later this month!  In today’s edition, the Pentagon IG launches a probe, outside money floods into a North Carolina Congressional re-run, the impact of community engagement with open data is measured, and more.  Today in OpenGov Residents gather for a community meeting. … Read moreToday in OpenGov: Conflicting information

Measuring the impact of community engagement around open data

Over time, local government open data programs have evolved from publishing large quantities of open datasets, toward improving usability and impact of open data as a tool for residents to advocate for their communities. When publishing data is the priority, metrics for success (like number of datasets published) are clear and easy to track. But … Read moreMeasuring the impact of community engagement around open data

Today in OpenGov: Anonymous tips

In today’s edition, the healthcare industry launches an ad blitz against Medicare for All, the US Ambassador to Germany calls out journalists for blocking him on Twitter, flights out of Hong Kong are canceled amid ongoing protests, and more.  washington watch Image via Pixabay. The healthcare industry is targeting 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls on Medicare … Read moreToday in OpenGov: Anonymous tips

Today in OpenGov: Controversy

In today’s edition, Interior got some help on its controversial FOIA policy, New Hampshire’s governor vetoed a nonpartisan redistricting bill, President Trump’s fundraising stirs up controversy, and more.  washington watch Image credit: Opensource.com. The Interior Department turned to the FBI for help on its controversial FOIA policy. “The Interior Department took notes from the FBI, … Read moreToday in OpenGov: Controversy

Today in OpenGov: Restricted access

In today’s edition, analyzing donors to the 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls, supporting sound financial stewardship in cities with transparency, restricting press access in El Paso and Dayton, targeting Hong Kong’s airport with a sit in, and more.  washington watch Map visualization via OpenSecrets. These Washington, DC bars and restaurants make the most from political campaigns. … Read moreToday in OpenGov: Restricted access

Balancing the books – how transparency can support good financial stewardship in cities big & small

Jackson, MS. Photo Credit: Frederick Olson Cities are responsible for the allocation of public funds to improve infrastructure, provide key services to residents, and attract businesses and tourists. To do so effectively, governments must practice good financial stewardship of these funds to the benefit of residents. But in small cities, seemingly small oversights in the … Read moreBalancing the books – how transparency can support good financial stewardship in cities big & small

Today in OpenGov: (watchdog) days

In today’s edition, Bill de Blasio picks up a watchdog complaint, Don McGahn gets hit with a lawsuit, former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis slides back through the revolving door, and more.  National Image via Pixabay. Bill de Blasio’s presidential bid benefited from an unusual arrangement and help from some major donors… “Mayor Bill de Blasio’s … Read moreToday in OpenGov: (watchdog) days

Today in OpenGov: Suit up.

In today’s edition, Massachusetts flunks its transparency exam, retiring Representatives portend expensive 2020 races, you can help federal agencies improve their FOIA processes, and more.  states and cities The Massachussets State House. Image credit: Tony Hisgett. Massachusetts earns failing grades on government transparency. “Massachusetts earns poor grades when it comes to government transparency with watchdogs … Read moreToday in OpenGov: Suit up.

Today in OpenGov: Bills, bills, bills

In today’s edition, we explore how openness is being leveraged to improve social services, the Senate votes to strengthen transition team ethics requirements, President Trump’s re-election campaign spends heavily on Facebook ads about an “invasion” at the southern border, and more.  states and cities The Department of Health and Human Services in Washington DC.  How … Read moreToday in OpenGov: Bills, bills, bills

This Week in Conflicts: Voters Sue to Stop CA Law Requiring Release of Presidential Candidate’s Tax Returns and Another Possible Hatch Act Violation 

President Donald J. Trump arrives on Air Force One to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., March 2, 2017. (Image Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Daylena S. Ricks) This week, a group of California voters is suing to block a new law requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns, more allegations Kellyanne Conway … Read moreThis Week in Conflicts: Voters Sue to Stop CA Law Requiring Release of Presidential Candidate’s Tax Returns and Another Possible Hatch Act Violation 

Open contracting in practice: opening decisions in the social services ecosystem

Open contracting is one of the most exciting strategies towns and cities can adopt to give residents access to information on how public money is spent. This blog post is the first in a series exploring how open contracting is not just a process improvement, but a reform that could bring positive change to some … Read moreOpen contracting in practice: opening decisions in the social services ecosystem

Today in OpenGov: Spreading the wealth

In today’s edition, the devil is in the details federal website details, President Trump needs to find another nominee to lead national intelligence, military style surveillance may be hovering over your city, and more.  washington watch Screenshot from the new whistleblower reporting page on Oversight.gov. Federal Inspectors General rolled out a new online whistleblower reporting … Read moreToday in OpenGov: Spreading the wealth

Think that Minute Details on Federal Government Websites Don’t Matter? Think Again.

Did loose grammar on a Federal Trade Commission webpage raise and then dash the hopes of millions? In 2016, the Office of Management and Budget admitted that federal agency websites “are the primary means by which the public receives information from and interacts with the Federal Government.” If you had any lingering doubts about the … Read moreThink that Minute Details on Federal Government Websites Don’t Matter? Think Again.

Today in OpenGov: IT’s a first

In today’s edition, Kris Kobach is running for Senate and breaking the rules, President Trump finally gets his first Chief Technology Officer, the leader of Hong Kong’s banned independence party is arrested, and more.  washington watch Former Kansas Secretary of State, failed gubernatorial candidate, and ex-vice-chair of President Trump’s “election fraud” committee Kris Kobach.  Kris … Read moreToday in OpenGov: IT’s a first

Today in OpenGov: Super starts

In today’s edition, we explore open contracting impacts in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, super PACs start planning for 2020, Whistleblower Appreciation Day was this week, but Hill staff still lack protections, and more.  states and cities Fresh vegetables at a local farmer’s market. Credit: Thomas Leth-Olsen How open contracting reform can lead to better food … Read moreToday in OpenGov: Super starts

Feeding Philadelphia – open contracting reform for better food options for residents

Fresh vegetables at a local farmer’s market. Credit: Thomas Leth-Olsen For many, deciding what to eat on any given day is filled with choices. We can choose to eat healthy or splurge; we can pick out foods we like, and we can eat on our own schedule. But what if this choice was taken away? … Read moreFeeding Philadelphia – open contracting reform for better food options for residents

Working with Los Angeles – open contracting data and empowering underrepresented businesses

Storefront of a local business in Los Angeles. Credit: KCET Departures. A 2019 study reported the City of Los Angeles as one of the top 25 most diverse cities in the United States. A  city of entrepreneurial spirit, Los Angeles is home to a dynamic business community, the strength of which rests on the many … Read moreWorking with Los Angeles – open contracting data and empowering underrepresented businesses

Today in OpenGov: Making amend(ment)s

In today’s edition, an effort to amend the constitution and roll back Citizens United, lawsuits about in Trumpland, tax return transparency moves ahead in California, and more.  washington watch Shell games. Image credit: FaceMePLS. Campaign finance laws do little to prevent donors from getting scammed… “…groups, often labeled “scam PACs,” are not new, and though … Read moreToday in OpenGov: Making amend(ment)s

Today in OpenGov: Access denied.

In today’s edition, Wisconsin won’t let this disabled lawmaker call in to meetings, the committee trying to modernize Congress agrees on a second round of recommendations, President Trump keeps pushing for more hospital price transparency, and more.  states and cities Wisconsin State Representative Jimmy Anderson. Credit: Anderson Campaign. Why won’t the Wisconsin legislature let this … Read moreToday in OpenGov: Access denied.

Today in OpenGov: Cash cows.

In today’s edition, Idaho turns to tech to tackle its rulemaking processes, money talks in Washington, Finland fights fake news, and more.  states and cities The Idaho State Capitol building.  Idaho is turning to tech to simplify its state rulemaking processes. “Idaho Gov. Brad Little has unveiled new steps aimed at fostering greater transparency and … Read moreToday in OpenGov: Cash cows.

This Week in Conflicts: Lawsuit Against Trump Org. Can Move Forward, Mueller Testifies and Subpoenas for Ivanka and Jared

President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence, addresses his remarks at the Pentagon Thursday, January 17, 2019, announcing the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Review. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour) This week, a judge ruled part of a lawsuit against President Donald Trump and his company can move forward, Robert Mueller testified … Read moreThis Week in Conflicts: Lawsuit Against Trump Org. Can Move Forward, Mueller Testifies and Subpoenas for Ivanka and Jared

Today in OpenGov: It’s just business.

In today’s edition, Minnesota will try again to ease public access to court records, the GAO shares ways to improve protections for federal whistleblowers, the House wants to know what sort of business White House officials are conducting on their personal accounts, and more.  states and cities Image via Pixabay. Tennessee is bringing a bit … Read moreToday in OpenGov: It’s just business.

Today in OpenGov: How to survive a zombie campaign.

In today’s edition, Robert Mueller testifies, President Trump seeks a restraining order, Senators look to boost transparency and FOIA, the FEC takes a shot at zombie campaigns, and more.  washington watch Image via Pixabay. Wealthy candidates have a built in funding advantage, but the end results are mixed. “Self-funded candidates have had mixed track records. Political … Read moreToday in OpenGov: How to survive a zombie campaign.

Today in OpenGov: Will he or won’t he?

In today’s edition, Puerto Rico’s governor might resign after all, Robert Mueller will testify before Congress today, President Trump’s top lobbyist bundler is cashing in on his ties in DC, and more.  states and cities Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló (right) and Florida Governor Rick Scott. Image credit: SAD USACE. Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló is expected to … Read moreToday in OpenGov: Will he or won’t he?

Today in OpenGov: Housing hacks.

In today’s edition, open data and civic hacking help housing advocates, a bipartisan group of Senators push back against FOIA changes at the EPA, a new report details the extent of climate change censorship under the Trump administration, and more.  states and cities Screenshot of ANHD’s Displacement Alert Project Map. Via Sunlight Foundation. Open data … Read moreToday in OpenGov: Housing hacks.

Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI) releases new report detailing the extent of censorship of climate change-related terms on federal websites

On Monday, the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI) released a new report on how the Trump administration has altered the use of climate change-related terms on federal websites. In their latest report, “The New Digital Landscape: How The Trump Administration Has Undermined Federal Web Infrastructures For Climate Information,” EDGI analyzed 5,301 federal government webpages … Read moreEnvironmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI) releases new report detailing the extent of censorship of climate change-related terms on federal websites

Hacking for Housing: How open data and civic hacking creates wins for housing advocates

Screenshot of ANHD’s Displacement Alert Project Map. From 2001 to 2015, the share of households considered “rent burdened”- spending over 30 percent of income on rent-has increased by 19 percent. For these households, housing, an essential human need, has become a persistent source of financial and social stress.  Many cities have struggled to keep housing … Read moreHacking for Housing: How open data and civic hacking creates wins for housing advocates

Today in OpenGov: Droning on.

In today’s edition, Boeing has friends in high places, Puerto Rico’s governor won’t run again, money flows from campaign donors to President Trump’s wallet, and more.  washington watch A Boeing 737 Max. Boeing will benefit from high level connections as it navigates federal investigations into 737 crashes. “The crashes of two Boeing Co. 737 Max jetliners have … Read moreToday in OpenGov: Droning on.

This Week in Conflicts: Conway Skips Ethics Hearing and the Fight for Trump’s Financial Documents Continues

President Donald J. Trump addresses service members stationed during his visit to Osan Air Base, South Korea, June 30, 2019. U.S. forces across the peninsula are charged with the mission of deterring aggression, defending the Republic of Korea and maintaining stability in Northeast Asia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. James L. Miller) This … Read moreThis Week in Conflicts: Conway Skips Ethics Hearing and the Fight for Trump’s Financial Documents Continues

Today in OpenGov: It’s a record!

In today’s edition, early 2020 fundraising is setting records, state lawmakers are copying and pasting legislative language from corporations, diplomats are talking differently in the age of leaks, and more.  washington watch Chart via FollowTheMoney.org 2020 campaign fundraising is already setting records. “Reports filed with the Federal Election Commission covering campaign activity through June 30 show … Read moreToday in OpenGov: It’s a record!

Today in OpenGov: Reporting requirements.

In today’s edition, we explore the benefits of increased access to congressionally mandated reports, Puerto Rico’s governor faces protests, the House holds the attorney general and commerce secretary in contempt, and more.  washington watch The United States House of Representatives chamber. The House passed the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act. Here’s what it could … Read moreToday in OpenGov: Reporting requirements.

Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act would increase accountability of agencies

On Wednesday afternoon, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on H.R.736, the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act (ACMRA). ACMRA would create a central website, run by the Government Printing Office, that would make all congressionally-mandated reports publicly available within 30 days of their submission to Congress (with exceptions for reports that … Read moreAccess to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act would increase accountability of agencies

Today in OpenGov: Lessons learned.

In today’s edition, Richmond, VA keeps its public housing private, lessons learned from the latest 2020 campaign finance reports, how lobster dinners led to the resignation of France’s environment minister, and more.  states and cities Image via MuckRock. How Richmond, VA keeps information about its public housing private. “Ever get the feeling that your local … Read moreToday in OpenGov: Lessons learned.

Today in OpenGov: Underfunded.

In today’s edition, governments’ role in opening social service data, OMB’s guidance on a key open data law, Kellyanne Conway’s refusal to talk to Congress, and more.   states and cities Image via Pixabay. Making government websites more accessible in Portsmouth, VA. “They say that Virginia is for lovers, and in the City of Portsmouth, there … Read moreToday in OpenGov: Underfunded.

Governments should have a role in opening social service data

Allegheny County’s Department of Human Services has long been known as one of the most innovative government agencies of its kind: their data infrastructure famously enables sharing of client information across a complex array of programs and powers analytic capabilities. As Ian Mavero started his role as their Chief Technology Officer, he took on the … Read moreGovernments should have a role in opening social service data

Today in OpenGov: Call in the replacements.

In today’s edition, Puerto Rico’s governor faces pressure to resign, the government unveils its DUNS number replacement, President Trump backs down on the Census citizenship question and considers firing his Commerce chief, and more.  states and cities This free repository of state and local financial audits is still a work in progress. Via Sunlight Foundation. … Read moreToday in OpenGov: Call in the replacements.

This Week in Conflicts: Subpoenas for Kushner and Trump Org. and One Emoluments Lawsuit Dismissed 

  President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence, addresses his remarks at the Pentagon Thursday, January 17, 2019, announcing the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Review. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour) This week, House Democrats authorized subpoenas for President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, one of the emoluments lawsuits was dismissed and New York’s … Read moreThis Week in Conflicts: Subpoenas for Kushner and Trump Org. and One Emoluments Lawsuit Dismissed