State Legislation Update: Three Notable Data Bills and One New Law

State Legislation Update: Three Notable Data Bills and One New Law

The 2024 state legislative season is past the halfway mark. 36 states are still in regular session and 10 states have adjourned. So far, the Data Quality Campaign (DQC) team is tracking nearly 200 new education and workforce data bills across 36 states. 

In last month’s legislation update we highlighted four bills that focus on increasing access to data. This month we are sharing four more exciting measures that align with our new vision for data access:

  • Colorado’s HB 24-1364 would require the Colorado Office of Information Technology to build a statewide longitudinal data system (SLDS). This new legislation would establish a governing board with leadership-level membership along with members of the public that is charged with supporting the development and implementation of the SLDS. This component of the bill aligns with best practices and DQC’s recommendations for cross-agency data governance. With an SLDS and governing board, Colorado’s leaders will be able to better understand the needs of Coloradans. Access to meaningful longitudinal data for all data users, from students to lawmakers, helps support decisionmaking at all levels.
  • Maryland’s SB 1022 would require the state’s Department of Labor, Department of Commerce, and Higher Education Commission to each have a dedicated staff member that is charged with defining, identifying, and compiling data about workforce needs in Maryland. This information would be included in the State Plan for Higher Education and shared with all higher education institutions in the state. Having access to more workforce data allows higher education leaders to make informed decisions about the programs and courses that are offered to best serve students. As the workforce  demands change in Maryland, postsecondary leaders can use this data to better adapt to those needs.
  • Pennsylvania’s HB 1987 would require the Pennsylvania Department of Education and Office of Information Technology to create a model data security plan to provide a set of guidelines and standards for all school entities. Additionally, this legislation would establish a working group to support the development and implementation of the data security plan. At DQC we often see privacy legislation that misses an opportunity to strengthen implementation by providing technical assistance. This legislation stands out because it provides technical assistance for districts and schools by requiring guidelines and standards for protecting student data. This is crucial to help schools and districts adapt to the ever-changing use of technology. 
  • A new law (HB 0001) in Wyoming would require the Wyoming Community College Commission to incorporate early childhood data into the Wyoming Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System (SLEDS) by 2026, in addition to appropriating funds to SLEDS and early childhood data system. Too often, there is a lack of data to help understand how to better support our youngest learners. By adding early childhood data into the SLDS, Wyoming leaders would have a better understanding of how children are being served and transitioning from early childhood education programs to kindergarten.

So far this session, policymakers in both Colorado and Kansas have introduced legislation that would codify cross-agency data governance and establish a SLDS. Codified governance laws are the most comprehensive approach to ensuring sustainability, transparency, and accountability for SLDS data collection, security, and access. Both of these bills attempt to develop the data infrastructure to sustain and maximize investments in data, allowing for a system that works for people. This year may turn out to be another exciting year for cross-agency data governance.