Next up for Science in Congress: HR3433 – the Grant Reform and Transparency Act

Just got pointed to this by Mark Martin. There is a new bill making its way through congress – HR 3433 – the Grant Reform and New Transparency Act of 2011. It has a subtitle apparently of “To amend title 31, United States Code, to provide transparency and require certain standards in the award of Federal grants, and for other purposes.”
The full text of the bill and other information is available here.
I personally don’t know much about this bill but found some discussion of it here:
I have not formed an opinion of the act but thought I would share the information since it does not seem to be getting much attention but seems like it could have impact.  I note – one group that I respect deeply supports the act: the Sunlight Foundation which involves people like Ester Dyson and Lawrence Lessig.  Any opinions or insight on the bill would be welcome.

Open Government Highlights: 1000 points of data

Kenneth Duberstein, who was the White House Chief of Staff from 1988-1989 had a very interesting Op-Ed piece in the New York Times Feb 23 (Op-Ed Contributor – 1,000 Points of Data – NYTimes.com). In it he calls for the US Government to allow for all citizens to assess the State of the Union themselves:

What we need now is a Web-based system for measuring our changing society with key national indicators — in a free, public, easy-to-use form. Ideally, it would be run by the nonpartisan National Academy of Sciences, which would ensure it has the best quality of information and is kept up to date. The system would enable us to offer in one place statistical information that we spend billions of dollars collecting but that is now underused and undervalued.

Noting that this idea is possibly going to be a reality, he writes:

Senators Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Michael Enzi, Republican of Wyoming, plan to soon introduce a bill that would allocate about $7.5 million a year for such a comprehensive database of key national indicators, and the idea already has wide bipartisan support.

Duberstein further states

Great steps forward in American history occur at moments when our deeply held values are reaffirmed in the face of changing realities. Such a moment is at hand. We need a shared frame of reference that will enable us to practice collective accountability.

I think this is a stellar idea. Access to information is critical for our future. Good to see this notion getting more and more support throughout the government.