NYC Council Speaker Good Government Forum

Reinvent Albany was proud to join lead sponsors  Citizens Union and NY Law School, co-sponsors League of Women Voters NYC and NYPIRG, and a sell-out crowd on November 20th where we heard all of the candidates vying to be Speaker of the New York City Council discuss their priorities, proposals and vision for New York City.

Transparency Watchdog Praises NYC Council Votes Improving Open Data Law and Advancing Online Voter Registration

Watchdog group Reinvent Albany praised today’s City Council votes in favor of bills that improve the Open Data Law and create a portal for city residents to register to vote online. All of the bills are expected to be signed by the mayor.

“Today, we’re congratulating the City Council on two civic technology wins. The Council continues to be a global leader on open data and these two bills will make it much easier to track how well agencies are publishing their data for public use and help get data that’s already been released via Freedom of Information (FOIL) request online. The bill facilitating online voter registration reduces barriers to voting and pushes the Board of Elections to adopt a commonsense convenience that voters elsewhere already have. Special thanks to council members Jimmy Vacca for his tremendous record championing open data as the outgoing chair of the council Technology Committee and Ben Kallos for his leadership on voting issues as chair of the Government Operations Committee.”

Said John Kaehny of Reinvent Albany, a watchdog group that advocates for using technology to improve government.

Int. No. 1707-2017 (Vacca) upgrades the NYC Open Data Law and most importantly requires the City to publish on the Open Data Portal information the status of data sets and makes it much easier for the public to track how well the City is complying with the Open Data Law.

1528-A-2017 (Vacca) requires agencies to list the names of data sets that have been requested via FOIL request. This will make it much easier for the public and the City to understand what data the public is requesting and should be published as open data.

Int. No. 508-2014 (Kallos) requires the NYC Campaign Finance Board (CFB) create a portal within 18 months to enable New Yorkers to register to vote electronically.  The CFB will deliver digitally signed voter registration forms to the City Board of Elections for processing.  Reinvent Albany believes government should use technology to improve service delivery and engage New Yorkers, and therefore supports this legislation.  We further believe digital signatures are the legal equivalent to handwritten signatures and the Board of Elections should process digitally signed forms.

Testimony to State Assembly: No blank checks for state “economic development” until major transparency and accountability reforms

Reinvent Albany testified today before the State Assembly Committee on Economic Development. The gist of our testimony was that the legislature should not appropriate any new funds for discretionary economic development programs until there are major transparency and accountability reforms, including a Database of Deals, Clean Contracting reforms and restrictions on campaign contributions from state vendors. (“Pay to play” controls.) In January and June of 2018, nine of the governor’s top aides and campaign contributors will go on trial for allegedly rigging over a billion dollars in state economic development contracts.

Reinvent Albany Testimony November 13 2017 Assembly Hearing on NYSTAR programs