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Oklahoma transparency laws drawing national attention

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Last month I received some great news. A report entitled “State Open Data Policies and Portals” was released by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Data Innovation and ranked Oklahoma as one of the top six top-scoring states for its open data policies.

State Represenstative Jason Murphey

State Represenstative Jason Murphey

This is just the latest in a series of national recognitions of the transparency advancement for which we have spent years working towards.

According to the report, state governments can show their commitment to open data in two principal ways: by establishing open data policies and by creating open data portals. Open data policies specify what data the government will publish and how it will do so. Open data portals bring data from multiple government agencies onto a single website.

The reported ranked Oklahoma’s open data policy and portal and placed us in a tie for first place in the nation.

The foundation for the section of law which created Oklahoma’s open data infrastructure was established by House Bill 1086 for which we won approval in 2011.

This area of law now contains various transparency features including the data.ok.gov portal which features thousands of data sets; documents.ok.gov, allowing access to thousands of state government documents; forms.ok.gov, which provides several hundred government forms; and cars.ok.gov, which enables the online renewal of vehicle tags.

It’s my hope that this section of law will continue to be utilized as the foundation for transparency initiatives for years into the future.

I am encouraged by the fact that lawmakers have already started using these transparency portals as outlets for their various transparency initiatives and hope that they will continue to do so.

For example, last week I wrote about the freshman lawmaker who used the documents.ok.gov portal as a means for posting information about state agnecy budgets so that lawmakers and the public could finally start to see information about the entire state agency budgets instead of just appropriated money.

This wasn’t the only proposal to utilize the documents’ transparency portal. Another bill sought to place the agency-to-agency memorandums of understanding (MOUs) online at documents.ok.gov for everyone to see. This bill, though not successful, became one of the very few legislative proposals to be signed out of a House committee after the chairman of that committee refused to hear the bill.

Our transparency effort is just getting started and in the upcoming years I believe we will see more of these types of proposals.
You may view the Center for Data Innovation report at hd31.org/638.

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