The "Open Tenets" of a State Legislature

The Empire State launched a new feature-laden website last month in the spirit of the Obama Administration's call to openness and key principles for open government as a model for other State legislatures. The new NYSenate.Gov highlights five tenets for open government as explained below, and also in a featured blog post, aimed toward civic participation and state dialogue. This example demonstrates how the Federal transformation efforts for Open Government is penetrating down to the state level and accepted through out other branches of government.

Ironically, at a time when the foreseable future of the current political leadership wranglings are murky at best, the direction the New York Senate has taken towards a transparent system of government is a terrific example of transformation at the State level. In fact, the NY Senate CIO touts that its content under the Creative Commons license while not as liberal as the White House's Attribution 3.0 license for distribution, goes beyond other State government efforts; the Utah government for example holds its content under Copyright (All Rights Reserved).

5 Open tenets of the

"1. Open Source software
The Senate recognizes that it has a responsibility to give back to the Open Source community, and as such all the NY Senate source code is published on Github at The greater use of Open source software – as advocated by many with the administration – can create a more collaborative relationship between citizens and government, along with reducing the $71 billion Federal IT

"2. Open Content distribution
The site content is available under a Creative Commons license. The license used is the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. This means that the site text, pictures and graphics are free to be copied and distributed so long as appropriate attribution is provided."

"3. Open Data area
As part of New York Senate’s commitment to transparency and openness, an Open Data section displays various documents relating to Stimulus spending and Senate budgets. Given various controversies over Senate spending, the release of this data can only help – in the long term at least – increase trust between citizens and their elected representatives.
The New York Senate provides a developer API to help organizations and individuals compile the Senate data the way they want."

"4. Open to new ideas
The site solicits ideas on how to make New York State better. Through crowdsourcing it wants to encourage ‘citizen participation in the legislative process’. As a result, three idea portals have been created encouraging the public to discuss ideas relating to Campaign Finance, Property taxes and Ethics Reform."

"5. Open to commenting and sharing
The site is Open for citizens to comment current legislation under consideration by the senate. It describes this as a ‘virtual version of a session where legislative committees amend bill texts’ and is a New York specific version of the Federal site Sections of legislative text can be commented on, with permalinks making these much easier to cite. "

(Via Talkin’ bout a revolution)