The City Council unanimously approved legislation Monday to permanently require the release of salary figures, crime statistics and other data on the "OpenBaltimore" website.
Councilman Brandon Scott, the bill's sponsor, said Baltimore joins dozens of other cities that are required by law to release various data. He said the bill will block future administrations from pulling back on the amount of information readily available to the public.
"In the 21st century, if you want to be transparent and show citizens you are using their money in an appropriate way and invite them to help solve issues, you have to share the data," Scott said.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake — who created OpenBaltimore — must review the bill before signing it into law, according to her spokesman, Howard Libit.
OpenBaltimore provides information on liquor licenses, 311 service requests and housing violations, among many other data sets.
LaVita Tuff, a policy analyst at the Sunlight Foundation, an open government advocacy group, said the legislation will make best practices across the country law in Baltimore. Tuff worked with Scott to draft the bill.
Tuff said the bill also sets a standard, no matter who is elected as the next mayor.
"This bill is setting the default to open," Tuff said. "This acknowledges that the citizens of Baltimore have a right to open and accountable and transparent government, and it allows us to figure out where we're going right in the city and where we're going wrong."
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