HB310 (2011)

Relative to the use of open data formats and the adoption of a statewide policy regarding open government data standards.

Status: HOUSE: RETAINED IN COMMITTEE House: Executive Departments & Administration (Details)
Length: 943 words.

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Revisions of this bill in our system:

Public hearing:2011-02-10 11:00:00 LOB 306(unscheduled)
Executive session:2011-10-27 10:00:00(unscheduled)
Floor vote:2012-01-04 00:00:00(unscheduled)






AN ACT relative to the use of open data formats and the adoption of a statewide policy regarding open government data standards.

SPONSORS: Rep. Cohn, Merr 6; Rep. Pratt, Hills 7; Rep. Lambert, Hills 27; Rep. Cox, Merr 6; Rep. B. MacMahon, Rock 10; Rep. Davenport, Rock 12

COMMITTEE: Executive Departments and Administration


This bill directs the commissioner of information technology to develop a statewide information policy based on certain principles of open government data. The bill also promotes the use of open data formats by state agencies.

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.




In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Eleven

AN ACT relative to the use of open data formats and the adoption of a statewide policy regarding open government data standards.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1 Statement of Purpose. The general court is committed to using technology to foster open, transparent, and accessible state government and finds that by sharing data freely, the state will generate new opportunities for economic development, commerce, and civic engagement for the citizens of this state. The general court further finds that adoption of open government data standards will improve transparency, access to public information, and coordination between state agencies and the private sector by providing timely access to relevant information in a less costly manner. In furtherance of these objectives, this act lays the groundwork for adoption of a statewide information policy based on the principles of open government data and encourages the adoption of open data formats by state agencies.

2 Department of Information Technology; Duties of Commissioner Regarding Acquisition of Information Systems. Amend RSA 21-R:4, I to read as follows:

I. Providing technical information technology consultation to all executive branch agencies and to any other agency that requests it, including technical advice consistent with the principles of open government data established in RSA 21-R:7-a and RSA 21-R:8-b during the development or acquisition of information systems.

3 New Section; Statewide Information Policy; Open Government Data Standards. Amend RSA 21-R by inserting after section 7 the following new section:

21-R:7-a Open Government Data Standards.

I. The commissioner shall develop a statewide information policy based on the following principles of open government data. According to these principles, open data is data that is:

(a) Complete. All public data is made available. Public data is data that is not subject to valid privacy, security, or privilege limitations.

(b) Primary. Data is collected at the sources, with the highest possible level of granularity, not in aggregate or modified forms.

(c) Timely. Data is made available as quickly as necessary to preserve the value of the data.

(d) Accessible. Data is available to the widest range of users for the widest range of purposes.

(e) Machine processable. Data is reasonably structured to allow automated processing.

(f) Non-discriminatory. Data is available to anyone, with no requirement of registration.

(g) Non-proprietary. Data is available in a format over which no entity has exclusive control.

(h) License-free. Data is not subject to any copyright, patent, trademark, or trade secret regulation. Reasonable privacy, security, and privilege restrictions may be allowed.

II. The information policy developed under paragraph I shall include a mechanism for adoption and review by each state agency. Each agency that adopts the policy shall designate a contact person responsible for oversight and implementation of open government data standards for that agency. The contact shall act as a liaison between the department, the implementing agency, and the public in matters related to open government data standards. The commissioner shall include the status of the development and implementation of the statewide information policy based on open government data standards in the quarterly report to the legislative oversight committee under RSA 21-R:9.

4 New Section; Department of Information Technology; Open Data Formats. Amend RSA 21-R by inserting after section 8-a the following new section:

21-R:8-b Open Data Formats.

I. The commissioner shall assist state agencies in the purchase or creation of data processing devices or systems that comply with open standards for the accessing, storing, or transferring of data. The commissioner shall:

(a) Ensure that any new data standards which the state of New Hampshire defines and to which it owns all rights are open standards compliant.

(b) Use open standards unless specific project requirements preclude use of an open data format. Neither the current storage format of previously collected data, nor current utilization of specific software products, is a sufficient reason, in the absence of other specific overriding functional requirements, to use a restricted format.

(c) Reexamine existing data stored in a restricted format, to which the state of New Hampshire does not own the rights, every 4 years to determine if the format has become open and, if not, whether an appropriate open standard exists.

(d) Make readily accessible, on the state website, documentation on open data formats used by the state of New Hampshire. When data in open format is made available through the state’s website, a link shall be provided to the corresponding data format documentation.

II. In this section:

(a) “Open standards” means specifications for the encoding and transfer of computer data that:

(1) Is free for all to implement and use in perpetuity, with no royalty or fee;

(2) Has no restrictions on the use of data stored in the format;

(3) Has no restrictions on the creation of software that stores, transmits, receives, or accesses data codified in such way;

(4) Has a specification available for all to read, in a human-readable format, written in commonly accepted technical language;

(5) Is documented, so that anyone can write software that can read and interpret the complete semantics of any data file stored in the data format;

(6) If it allows extensions, ensures that all extensions of the data format are themselves documented and have the other characteristics of an open data format;

(7) Allows any file written in that format to be identified as adhering or not adhering to the format; and

(8) If it includes any use of encryption, provides that the encryption algorithm is usable in a royalty-free, nondiscriminatory manner in perpetuity, and is documented so that anyone in possession of the appropriate encryption key or keys is able to write software to unencrypt the data.

(b) “Restricted format” means any data format that is accessed, stored, or transferred and is not open standards compliant.

5 Effective Date. This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.



Revised 03/04/11


AN ACT relative to the use of open data formats and the adoption of a statewide policy regarding open government data standards.


      The Departments of Information Technology and Administrative Services state this bill will increase state expenditures by an indeterminable amount in FY 2011 and each fiscal year thereafter. There will be no fiscal impact on state revenues, or county and local revenues or expenditures.


    The Department of Information Technology defines open data format as data file formats based upon an open standard, developed by an open community, maintained by a standards body, fully documented, and publically available. The Department states open data formats can be implemented by proprietary, free, and open source software. The Department states it manages approximately 650 state systems which must be reviewed to determine if they comply with the open data format standard. The Department states existing staff will be required to develop the open government data standards required in section 3 of this bill which may postpone or suspend current projects. The Department states it will also require the hiring of a business systems analyst II (labor grade 30) to meet the provisions of this bill. The Department estimates salary and benefit costs to be $89,890 in FY 2012, $92,907 in FY 2013, $97,589 in FY 2014 and $102,976 in FY 2015, for this position. The Department did not estimate costs for necessary procurements or agency personnel costs and therefore is unable to predict the fiscal impact to state expenditures.

    The Department of Administrative Services states data from statewide systems it supports is currently provided in a format compatible with certain available spreadsheet applications and is able to be imported into generally available database systems or imported into any other software able to process a comma delimited file. The Department states due to sensitivity and confidentiality of some of the data elements contained in the systems it supports, the data must be cleansed and redacted as appropriate prior to making it available. This entails more labor costs than complying with a standard data format. The Department states this bill will increase state expenditures by an indeterminable amount in FY 2011 and in each fiscal year thereafter.

    This bill does not include and appropriation or authorization for new positions.