Monthly Archives: March 2014

Good Gov Groups Condemn Proposed NY “Ethics Reform” Bill

Below, and linked, is a March 30, 2014 statement from good government groups sharply criticizing the proposed “ethics reforms” in the state budget deal agreed upon by the governor and legislative leaders.  The flawed legislation is likely to pass the legislature today. News coverage here. The Brennan Center for Justice Citizen Action of New York […]

Proposed Federal FOIA Reforms Are Good Model for New York

The U.S. Congress has been producing a steady flow of new bills that seek to expand transparency and open the government, and that offer some good ideas for states and cities. Earlier this month, the Transparency in Government Act was introduced in Congress by Representative Mike Quigley (D) Illinois. The people at Citizens for Responsibility […]

Money in Politics in NY: Mar. 25 Edition

James and Stewart-Cousins: Public Financing Will Benefit Women In a Sunday op-ed in the Journal News, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James and New York State Senator and Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins described the benefits that public financing of elections would bring for women in New York. One observed effect is more women in elected office. […]

The Willie Sutton Guide to “High Value Data.”

It should be fairly straightforward to figure out what government data sets the public is really interested in. The public is telling government with every website visit, search, and download; with every online transaction, phone call, and text to 311; and with every FOIL request. Unfortunately, government often isn’t listening. (How many New York State […]

Money in Politics in NY: Mar. 21 Edition

New York Times: NY Elected Officials Must Pass Reform before April 1 A New York Times editorial last Thursday pressed Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders to pass public financing reform in the 2014-15 state budget by April 1. Arguing that reform would increase the slate of candidates that run for office, the Times stated that this prospect is “the reason […]

Comptroller DiNapoli Opens Authority Financial Data

Reinvent Albany thanks State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli for putting the financial reports of 500 state and local authorities online in open formats on his Open Book New York transparency site. The reports include data reported by the Authorities under the Public Authority Reporting Act to the “PARIS” reporting system from 2007 to 2014.  The entire […]

Ithaca Journal: 52 of 86 NY State Agencies Fail Basic FOIL Requirement

Reinvent Albany frequently blogs about how state agencies struggle to comply with the Freedom of Information Law, and often fail to respond to requests in a timely fashion. We’ve also noted how ironic it is that the FOIL process itself is not transparent. Now, the Ithaca Journal-Gannett has found that 52 of the 86 state […]

Advocates Celebrate Sunshine Week by Streaming Assembly Committees’ Hearings

Citizens Union, along with Reinvent Albany and the NY Public Interest Research Group, are streaming the New York State Assembly’s committee hearings today. From the press release: Good government advocates will use their smart phones to webcast assembly committee hearings to bring needed transparency and public access to the proceedings. Webcasting can be done with […]

Successes, Challenges and Opportunities for Open Government in NY

New York has some of the best open data and transparency websites in the United States, probably the world. The state has made rapid progress using technology to get information about what it does and what it knows available to the public. However, “open government” remains the exception, and the vast bulk of state digital […]

Money in Politics in NY: Mar. 14 Edition

NY Assembly Passes One-House Budget with Public Financing Reforms On Tuesday in Albany, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver spoke to a large group of Fair Elections supporters gathered for a rally. Silver assured the activists that public financing and comprehensive campaign finance reform would be in the one-house budget to be released by the Assembly the […]

“Open Data” is great but it’s not “Transparency”

It should be clear from our hundreds of blog posts and tweets that we really like open data initiatives, such as Governor Cuomo’s Open NY and NYC’s Open Data Law. But we see open data primarily as a way of improving government services and efficiency, as well as sharing data about people and places. We […]

Money in Politics in NY: Mar. 7 Edition

Women Leaders Sign Letter to Gov. Cuomo and Legislature Urging Reform This week, more than 160 women business, philanthropic and political leaders signed onto a letter to New York’s legislative leaders and governor, encouraging them to enact comprehensive campaign finance reform with publicly funded elections. “For women in particular, this kind of reform is vital to […]