Katie Roy Testifies on Need for Accessible, Transparent Public State Data

Legislative Testimony

Testimony Regarding H.B. 5172, An Act Concerning State Agency Data Management and Processes, the Transmittal of Town Property Assessment Information and the Suspension of Certain Regulatory Requirements

Katie Roy, Director & Founder
Government Administration and Elections Committee
Monday, February 26, 2018

Chairpersons Flexer, McLachlan, and Fox, Ranking Member Devlin, and distinguished members of the Government Administration and Elections Committee:

Thank you for the opportunity to provide written testimony regarding H.B. 5172 and the need for accessible, accurate, and up-to-date public data.

My name is Katie Roy and I am the director and founder of the Connecticut School Finance Project, a nonpartisan, nonprofit policy organization based in New Haven that works to identify solutions to Connecticut’s school funding challenges that are fair to students, taxpayers, and communities.

My testimony today primarily concerns sections 1, 2, and 5 of H.B. 5172.

As Connecticut faces significant financial and economic challenges, addressing these often-longstanding challenges requires a thorough understanding what problems our state must solve. The foundation of this understanding is transparent and accessible public data. H.B. 5172 helps lay this foundation by codifying the provisions of Executive Order 39 into Connecticut’s state statutes.

The ability to easily access and work with public data in Connecticut is critical to not only thoughtful, conscientious policymaking, but to an informed, knowledgeable, and engaged public.

In our work providing information and analysis to state and local policymakers, stakeholder groups, and community members about how Connecticut funds public education and what fiscal challenges our state is facing, our organization knows firsthand the importance of accessible, transparent state data. Rarely does a day go by where we do not hear from individuals across the state looking for accessible state data.

H.B. 5172 helps meet these calls for accessible public data, and further enhances and solidifies Connecticut’s commitment to data transparency, which is fundamental to good governance and good policy.

By codifying the provisions of Executive Order 39 and directing the Office of Policy and Management to facilitate the sharing of executive branch agency data between agencies and the public, along with operating and maintaining “an online repository for the publication of open data by executive branch agencies,” H.B. 5172 helps improve inter-agency communication, present a more holistic view of state data, and increase the effectiveness of data to governmental and non-governmental stakeholders by preventing agencies from being data “siloes.”

Importantly, H.B. 5172 protects personally identifiable, sensitive, and confidential data from public release, as is appropriate and necessary. Additionally, the bill moves executive branch agencies further toward digitizing all paper and fax records to improve agency organization effectiveness and increase the public's ability to easily access and work with public data.

Data is key to helping our state effectively meet its challenges and implement policies that are thoughtful and fiscally sound. I urge the Committee to support H.B. 5172 and help solidify Connecticut’s commitment to transparent and accessible public state data, and move our state forward.

Thank you again for allowing me the opportunity to submit written testimony regarding H.B. 5172, and please feel free to contact me should you have any questions.


Katie Roy
Director & Founder
Connecticut School Finance Project