Dems reintroduce Public Online Information Act

The Hill

by Gautham Nagesh

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) reintroduced a bill Monday that would require the federal government to post all publicly available information online in user-friendly formats.

Every day, 78 percent of American adults use the internet. It’s become our first stop for news and research. Our government needs to catch up,” Israel said.

“People across the country – from scholars to school children – should be able to see any public government information from the convenience of their computer. Public should mean online."

Supporters of the Public Online Information Act include the transparency watchdog Sunlight Foundation, which praised the bill for enabling greater oversight and accountability by the public, the media and the government alike.

"We’ve got to make sure transparency is keeping up with technology," Tester said. "A little sunshine on government is always a good thing, and folks in Montana aren’t alone in expecting accountability from their leaders.”

Agencies would have three years to prepare before disclosing public records online becomes mandatory. The law would apply to future records, not those released before the law's enactment.