SAN FRANCISCO – Supervisor Mark Farrell will introduce a motion at today’s meeting of the Board of Supervisors to make San Francisco the first “open legislation” city in the country.
“This motion is an ongoing step towards fully opening our City’s legislative process, so that our City’s residents can better interact with City government on policy issues that they care about and want to have their voices heard on,” stated Supervisor Mark Farrell. “This motion will make our City’s legislative data easier to use for our constituents, third parties, and outside developers who want to better interact with the legislative process using more modern formats and tools.”
The motion directs the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors to make the City’s legislation, including motions, resolutions, and ordinances to be uploaded to the Board of Supervisors’ website – www.sfbos.org – in machine-readable format that is consistent with the City’s already approved open data standards. The motion follows closely on the heels on the House of Representative’s recent work to ensure that legislation at the Federal level is available for bulk download and use in XML format, at - http://xml.house.gov/.
“Opening up municipal legislation in machine-readable format is opening up the ‘guts of government’ for all to access, use and share when and how they want,” stated Seamus Kraft, Executive Director of the non-partisan, non-profit OpenGov Foundation. “This is a major win for every San Francisco citizen, job-creator, and public servant seeking a more efficient, effective city government that is both transparent and accountable. We applaud Supervisor Farrell’s – and the entire Board of Supervisors’ – efforts, and look forward to using this open legislative data to help city officials and the public work together to build a stronger San Francisco.”
“We applaud San Francisco’s continued efforts to make its laws available in machine-readable formats and more accessible for all,” stated Rebecca Williams, municipal policy analyst at the Sunlight Foundation. “Laws themselves are too often overlooked in open data policy implementation. San Francisco’s new motion is a step in the right direction.”
Making the City’s legislative information in these more modern data formats allows the data to be reused and repurposed by constituents, third party providers, and outside developers in emerging applications, platforms, and services that can serve to keep City government accountable, open, and responsive.
“Tools and platforms now exist that allow citizens to directly comment on proposed legislation, and I look forward to this motion being an ongoing step to allowing a deeper level of citizen engagement and interaction in more modern ways with our City’s legislative process,” stated Supervisor Mark Farrell.
The motion will be heard at a Board of Supervisor’s committee. It is expected to be voted on by the full Board of Supervisors within the next two months.