Cities Have Just 90 Days to Comply with SB 272

Has your city/county finished its SB 272 Catalog yet? Don’t know what we’re talking about? Better get going.

Signed by Governor Brown October 11, 2015, SB 272 requires cities, counties and special districts to create catalogues of data they maintain, and post these catalogs on their agency website. Notably the bill gave agencies a very short runway for these first-of-their-kind catalogs, mandating “The local agency shall complete and post the catalog required by this section by July 1, 2016, and thereafter shall update the catalog annually.”

That’s just three short months away, for those of you keeping track. Need help? CityNews editor Robb Korinke is part of the team at Level Zero helping agencies wrap their arms around SB 272 compliance and a host of other data analytics issues. You can contact him directly here.

Recent years have seen notable policy shifts aiming to modernize these practices, many of which are aimed directly at state and local agencies. SB 272 is among these and can be seen as one of the more significant steps California has taken as part of the “Open Data” movement.

Ultimately, the SB 272 catalog is a first step towards opening California government agency information to the public. The intent is to provide a public roadmap to critical data obtainable via public information request, and help residents and innovators better access and utilize public data.

There is also substantial opportunity for agencies to meet these demands and realize significant efficiencies in the form of cost-savings, service enhancement, and better public engagement.

The trick is navigating this new mandate. Security concerns and the vagaries of the legislative process created exemptions and nuanced requirements for the catalog. A small handful of agencies have submitted catalogs, few of which seem to fulfill the bill’s intent. This is important to note, as 272 passed without a single “No” vote on its way through the legislature, and with a broad coalition of business, labor and transparency groups advocating its enactment.

In short, people are watching. Fortunately, there is help out there. City/CountyNews ran a webinar on the subject back in January, and Level Zero is there to help agencies who don’t feel comfortable developing the catalog on their own. 


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