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Will California Soon Have a Chief Data Officer?

New legislation from Assemblymember Phil Ting calls for hiring a state data czar and establishing a new Web portal for public information.

by / March 18, 2015
California Rep. Phil Ting e.Republic/Brian Heaton

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California could be the next state to have a chief data officer.

AB 1215, the California Open Data Act, enables Gov. Jerry Brown to appoint a chief data officer and charge that person with establishing a publicly accessible and centralized portal of state agency data sets. Assemblymember Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, unveiled his plans for the bill on Wednesday, March 18, at Data Summit 2015, hosted by California Forward, a government reform nonprofit organization.

In his remarks, Ting noted that while many state agencies have data sets, most people don't know where that data is or how to find it, so it isn't really “open.” He hopes AB 1215 will change the game and modernize data accessibility in California.

“I think this is a very exciting time for the state … and I think it's really time California comes out of the dark ages and starts to use that information and technology,” Ting said.

If Ting's bill becomes law, California would become one of just a handful of states to have a chief data officer. Colorado was the first in 2010, when it appointed Micheline Casey to the position.

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Brian Heaton

Brian Heaton was a writer for Government Technology magazine from 2011 to mid-2015.

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