On July 20, 2023 Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA-17) and Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC-01) introduced the Streamlining Effective Access and Retrieval of Content to Help (SEARCH) Act to improve the search functionality of government websites and make key information easily accessible to the public.
Americans rely heavily on data made available on U.S. agency websites. Executive departments offer information on government services and serve as an easily accessible medium for the public to learn about regulations and stay updated on policy changes. But at present, many government websites can be challenging to navigate due to outdated or ineffective search capabilities, which create barriers for citizens.
“One of the government’s most important jobs is to help citizens access essential information and services, but currently many government agency websites are outdated and difficult to navigate,” said Rep. Ro Khanna. “I’m glad to introduce this bill with Representative Mace to leverage existing technology in order to improve the online user experience for Americans.”
“The SEARCH Act represents a crucial step towards enhancing transparency and accessibility in our government. By improving the functionality of government websites, we can empower the public with easier access to key information they need. This act will require government agencies to revamp their websites, ensuring vital resources are readily available and easily navigable, again putting us at the forefront of connecting people to information,” said Rep. Mace.
Rep. Khanna and Rep. Mace have worked together to pass several bills to develop the nation’s technology and workforce including the Quantum Computing Cybersecurity Preparedness Act and the House version of the Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program Act.
The SEARCH Act of 2023:
Instructs the Office of Management and Budget to issue guidance to executive agencies on how to implement new technology in the agencies’ search functions.
Requires agencies to submit reports to the Office of Management and Budget and Congress on the timeline and cost of their plan to revamp their websites’ search functions.
Results in the overhaul of government agency search functions within two years of the bill’s passage.
Bill text can be found here.