Assembly policy panel OKs Sen. Bob Hertzberg plan directing local public agencies to make data more accessible to public

Bill would require local government agencies to catalog, report collected data

July 15, 2015

SACRAMENTO – A plan by Sen. Bob Hertzberg to require local government agencies to make public catalogs of software systems passed its final Assembly policy test 7-0 today.

“Many local agencies statewide are already turning internally gathered data into usable information available to the public under the California Public Records Act, but more must be done,” Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, said about Senate Bill 272 after bipartisan passage by the Assembly Local Government Committee. “A better understanding of data means a smarter government, and that translates into improved services and jobs and a stronger helping hand to residents who need it most.”

Senate Bill 272, already approved by the Senate, would require all local governments to produce a catalog of the computer software systems used to collect and maintain public information, such as reports on economic activity and public services. These catalogs would include who maintains the information, how it is stored and how often that data is collected. The bill takes care to protect public safety and infrastructure security.

In many cases, Hertzberg said, local agencies do not even know what data they have, where the data came from or how it is kept. Within California’s 58 counties and nearly 500 cities, there are thousands of agencies that collect and store public information.

Hertzberg said his goal for SB 272 and open data in the long term is to better harness the power of locally generated data to help spur economic growth, tackle major infrastructure issues and set millions of Californians on a path toward upward mobility. Properly gathered and clearly understood, data could also help empower local agencies and encourage the agencies to work together more effectively and to intelligently allocate resources to better deliver public services, he said.

“Smarter governments work better and inspire confidence in those they serve, strengthening the connection between government and the people,” Hertzberg said.

Recent amendments to SB 272 include exempting key control and infrastructure systems; protecting cyber security, firewalls and certain sensitive records; ensuring that information exempted by the Public Records Act remains protected; and clarifying that no actual records will be included in the catalog.

Supporters of SB 272 include: The American Civil Liberties Union of California; the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO; the Associated Builders and Contractors of California; the Building Owners and Managers Association of California; the California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce; the California Broadcasters Association; the California Business Properties Association; the California Business Roundtable; California Forward Action Fund; the California League of Food Processors; the California Manufacturers & Technology Association; California Professional Firefighters; the California Retailers Association; the Commercial Real Estate Development Association; the Family Business Association; the Firearms Policy Coalition; the International Council of Shopping Centers; the Los Angeles County Business Federation; the National Federation of Independent Businesses; the San Diego Regional Data Library; San Francisco Technology Democrats; the Sunlight Foundation; the Urban Strategies Council.

In addition, a representative for the California Newspaper Publisher’s Association urged an aye vote. 

SB 272 now faces review by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. No hearing date has yet been set.  

For more, including a Fact Sheet on SB 272, visit Hertzberg’s Web site at the address below.

Bob Hertzberg, chair of the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance, represents nearly 1 million San Fernando Valley residents of Senate District 18, which includes part of Burbank and the following communities in Los Angeles: Arleta, Granada Hills, Hansen Dam, Lake View Terrace, Mission Hills, North Hills, North Hollywood, part of Northridge, Pacoima, Panorama City, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, part of Sun Valley, Sylmar, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, Valley Village, Van Nuys, the City of San Fernando and Universal City. See a district map HERE or at  After serving in the Assembly from 1996-2002, including two years as Speaker, Hertzberg invested in solar, wind and electric-car projects; and worked for structural changes in government through the Think Long Committee of California. More HERE or at 

Communications Director
Sen. Bob Hertzberg, Senate District 18
Capitol Building, Room 4038
Sacramento, Calif. 95814
(916) 651-4018 office; 916 834-1128 cell 


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