“Public Online Information Act” (POIA) mandates that materials that are “public information” or subject to “public inspection” be made accessible to the public timely fashion and user-friendly format online through the agency’s website, a centralized website and through an open application program interface (API) to provide sharable data to empower civic hackers and developers to create their own apps. While Open Data has made great strides in making government information available warehouses full of materials are still being generated that are not making it online because they are only “public information” or are only subject to “public inspection.” This changes all that and will put materials online like:
- All city contracts;
- Department of building technical standards, accident investigations, and waivers;
- Transcripts from public hearings that are keyword searchable;
This legislation is modeled on federal bill by the same name introduced this year by Congress Member Steve Israel (D-NY) as H.R. 4312 and Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) as S. 549. It also supplements Open Data, Local Law 11 of 2012, passed by former Council Member Gale Brewer, the current Manhattan Borough President.
By Council Member Kallos
A LOCAL LAW
To amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to requiring certain city government-provided public information to be posted online.
Be it enacted by the Council as follows:
Section 1. Legislative intent. The intent of this legislation is to ease the process by which New Yorkers can receive information required to made available by agencies by moving such information online.
§2. Title 23 of the administrative code of the city of New York is amended by adding a new chapter 7 to read as follows:
§ 23-701. Public Information to be Posted Online. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, whenever the terms “public information,” “public inspection,” or “inspection by the public” are used in the charter or administrative code with respect to the provision of a specific type of information to the public, the information provided by a city agency pursuant to any such requirement shall include, in addition to any other requirements of law, publication of all such information on the agency’s website, in an open format, and publication to the open data portal created pursuant to chapter five of this title, no later than such time as such information is provided by any other means. For the purposes of this section, the term “open format” shall mean a format that is both human and machine-readable, and an open application programming interface that provides the general public with bulk downloads as well as specifications for routines, data structures, object classes, variables, remote calls and such other information as would be necessary to access information externally through an open standard that is available to the public without any registration requirement, license requirement, royalty, fee or any other restrictions on their use.
§3. This local law shall take effect 120 days after its enactment into law.