Startup Money Will Provides Easy-to-Use Open-Government Tools to Cities and States

With $750,000 in additional funding, the OpenGov Foundation plans to expand its footprint into the world of lawmaking tools for citizens and governments.

The Washington, D.C.-based organization reports the new investment comes from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, a civic tech philanthropy that, in July of 2013, funded the nonprofit with $200,000 to develop its Project Madison, an interactive platform that lets citizens opine on proposed and current legislation. The refill of capital is slated to fine-tune Madison further while extending a runway to launch new government partnerships for the group’s AmericaDecoded program, a campaign that liberates laws from publishing copyright for citizen access.

While it affects many, few know of copyright’s pervasive influence on law accessibility across the U.S. State departments and federal agencies — the primary users of the tactic — often employ copyright as a cost-cutting measure to publish and distribute legal codes and regulatory standards. Though this benefits publishers, who can sell online and printed copies for hundreds of dollars, and governments, that can defer editing and annotating costs, it creates paywalls that can lock citizens out. Continue>>>