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Hartford Foundation Testimony on HB 5517 An Act Concerning Executive Branch Data Management and Processes

On Monday, March 19, 2018, Hartford Foundation Research and Community Indicators director Scott Gaul testified before the legislature’s General Administration and Elections Committee in support of House Bill 5517, An Act Concerning Executive Branch Data Management and Processes.  The Hartford Foundation particularly supports the provisions in the bill to establish the Connecticut Data Analysis Technology Advisory Board and encouraged the state to involve philanthropy and nonprofits on the Board. In recent testimony before the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth, the Foundation asked the Commission to prioritize the development and coordinated use of high-quality research and data to ensure that limited public and private resources support best practices and policies. Data and research help create the preconditions for economic growth. The Hartford Foundation has supported open data, worked to provide capacity-building for the use of data, and commissioned independent research and evaluations on topics critical to Connecticut’s economic well-being and health. 

 

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Testimony Regarding House Bill 5517 An Act Concerning Executive Branch Data Management Processes
Hartford Foundation for Public Giving
Government Administration and Elections Committee
March 19, 2018

 

Senator Flexer, Senator MacLachlan, Representative Fox, Representative Devlin and distinguished members of the Government Administration and Elections Committee. My name is Scott Gaul, I am the Director of Research and Evaluation at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, and I am grateful for this opportunity to offer testimony in support of HB 5517 An Act Concerning Executive Branch Data Management and Processes.

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for the 29-town Greater Hartford region.  We are the largest community foundation in Connecticut, and among the largest 20 community foundations in the country.  With a mission to put philanthropy into action to promote equitable opportunity for all residents in our region, the Foundation is committed to the availability of high quality, impartial research and information about our region and state.

The Hartford Foundation particularly supports the provisions in the bill to establish the Connecticut Data Analysis Technology Advisory Board. We specifically encourage the state to involve philanthropy and nonprofits on the Advisory Board.

In testimony before the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth, we asked the Commission to prioritize the development and coordinated use of high-quality research and data to ensure that limited public and private resources support best practices and policies. Data and research help create the preconditions for economic growth. The Hartford Foundation has supported open data, worked to provide capacity-building for the use of data, and commissioned independent research and evaluations on topics critical to Connecticut’s economic well-being and health.

 

Support for open data

Connecticut leadership in open data is to be commended and this act continues that momentum. In 2016, the State’s Chief Data Officer, Tyler Kleykamp, was named an ‘Open Data Pioneer’ and we cited his efforts as worthy of commendation.   The identification of agency data officers is especially important as it ‘enable[s] residents, non-governmental organizations and others to identify the same points of contact within state agencies’ and supports access to and use of data outside of government.

The development of the state portal has also supported transparency at the municipal level, particularly in Hartford, the first community in Connecticut to create a municipal open data portal (for which we serve on the Hartford Open Data Advisory Board). 

In 2014, we provided financial support to the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges (CCIC) to integrate higher education data with state agency data. That project enabled analysis by the Department of Labor to examine wages and employment rates for students completing credentials at Connecticut independent colleges.

 

Capacity-building for the use of data

In 2014, the Hartford Foundation commissioned an assessment of resources for data in our region, which concluded that ‘data intermediary functions exist and are being performed across multiple organizations in the region,’ including through the Connecticut Data Collaborative, DataHaven and the State Data Center at the University of Connecticut.

Over the past two years, we have also convened stakeholders to explore Connecticut’s need for policy research and the feasibility of different models to support evidence-based policymaking.[1]

 

Research on Critical and Emerging Issues

We conduct, commission and share research that impacts our region and support and use research to inform action -- including public policy. We have published three editions of the Metro Hartford Progress Points report, which highlights key indicators and opportunities for the Hartford region to achieve economic vitality. A fourth edition will be released in late 2018, in conjunction with the region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.

Examples of other research the Hartford Foundation has supported (either whole or in part) include:

 Thank you for the opportunity to testify.


[1]Does Connecticut Need a Think Tank?,’ Tom Condon, CT Mirror, July 6 2016. 

 

i.2016 Open Data Pioneer Award,’ U.S. Open Data, March 11, 2016: https://usopendata.org/2016/03/11/kleykamp/

ii.[1] Q&A: Talking about the state of open data, Connecticut Mirror, October 8, 2015:

https://trendct.org/2015/10/08/qa-talking-about-the-state-of-open-data/

iii.Comments sent in response to draft State Open Data Policy, March 5, 2015.

iv.OpenGov Voices: Hartford’s new open data portal,’ Sunlight Foundation, Septermber 12, 2014: https://sunlightfoundation.com/2014/09/12/opengov-voices-hartfords-new-open-data-portal/

 


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