State of the States 2017: The Future Is Automation

STEM education, broadband access and cybersecurity take center stage as governors deliver their broadest policy speech of the year.

by Government Technology editorial team / January 29, 2017

Click on each state for insight into the technology initiatives mentioned and our thoughts on how they did based on a rating scale of 0 to 5, with 0 being no technology mentions and 5 representing extensive technology plans. The more color you see, the more technology mentions were made in a governor's address.

2017 State of the State Analysis

Alabama

Stars:
Address date
: 02/07/2017
To sum it up: Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has two years left in office and said he intends to make additional strides in job creation and growth — something the state has improved upon since he was elected in 2011. Bentley made mention of companies "like Polaris, in Huntsville … hiring 1,700 Alabamians and creating hundreds of positions for technicians, programmers and welders," and of health-care reform and tackling infant mortality — something Indiana has done (and Ohio will soon do) using data analytics, but Bentley did not elaborate on how Alabama would approach the issue. He did mention, however, that the recently formed Alabama Council on Opioid Misuse and Addiction will continue to build on existing efforts to combat opioid abuse and present "innovative ideas to put an end to this deadly epidemic." Bentley also mentioned the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program, a "first-of-its-kind infrastructure program" that has completed more than 700 projects, and that the state is addressing obstacles in education, health care, access to technology, job growth and economic opportunity that exist in Alabama’s approximately 55 rural counties. The most tech-heavy part of Bentley's address was aimed toward giving children the best education possible. "Technology should know no boundaries,” he said, adding that his Great State 2019 plan includes a slate of initiatives "aimed at delivering connectivity to even our most remote and rural schools."
Read the governor's address here


Arizona

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Address date: January 10, 2017
To sum it up: Gov. Doug Ducey’s third State of the State address began with a heavy focus on Arizona’s education system and devoting more resources to both schools and teachers. While he said that many of the state’s public schools are leaders in science and technology, including teaching students how to code, schools in rural areas and tribal nations are missing out on these opportunities. “It’s 2017, but outside of our urban areas, broadband is still spotty,” Ducey said. “Let’s fix this by connecting these rural schools to high-speed Internet.” He suggested coupling those efforts with a statewide computer science and coding initiative. Another prominent technology announcement during the speech was the launch of RedTape.AZ.gov, a portal for business owners to report regulations that prevent job growth. Ducey’s goal is to remove 500 regulations by the end of 2017, and he called out a neighboring state’s “nutty ideas” as examples: “Emissions standards for — here’s a new one — computer monitors. And who could forget — harassing self-driving cars to drive themselves right out of California, onto the I-10 and straight into Arizona.” Ducey also mentioned that Arizona is set to manufacture electric cars, called the state the “world’s hub” for autonomous vehicle testing and said that Uber is available at the airport. In addition, a couple of his highlights didn’t address tech directly but likely are driven in part by it: motor vehicle wait times are down and contractors are getting licenses 76 percent faster.
Read the governor's address here


Arkansas

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Address date: January 9, 2017
To sum it up: Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson kept his State of the State address for 2017 brief and his mentions of technology scarce. He used the speech to espouse some of the state's progress, including a reduction in unemployment and a higher rate of economic growth than most other states, while also referencing Arkansas' unbounded potential due to advances in technology. He called for tax breaks, reduced regulation and increased governmental efficiencies.
In order for the state to woo potential investment, there must be a capable workforce. According to Hutchinson, Arkansas is No. 1 in the nation in computer science education. While it was not mentioned in his address, earlier this year Hutchinson partnered with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to form the Governors' Partnership for K-12 Computer Science, committing to multiple strategies to advance STEM education. Rounding out his address, Hutchinson urged lawmakers to support ArFuture Grants, a program to provide two years of tuition and fees at an Arkansas community or technical college to any student who enrolls in a high-demand field of study and commits to working in the state for three years after college.
Read the governor's address here


California

Stars: Zero
Address date: January 24, 2017
To sum it up: California, like so many states, has built itself up through immigration, only the scale is different. The state has the sixth most powerful economy in the world, and is the most populous, but most significantly has almost 11 million residents (27 percent) who were born in a foreign country. Gov. Jerry Brown emphasized this point in his short but passionate annual address. “As we reflect on the state of our state, we should do so in the broader context of our country and its challenges,” he said. “We much prepare for uncertain times and reaffirm the basic principles that have made California the great exception that it is.” Brown also talked about the impact of health-care reform through the Affordable Care Act and how 5 million more Californians now have health benefits. He discussed climate change and the need for global agreements to control greenhouse gases. Last, Brown addressed the need for fixing the state’s infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, railroads and dams. While the governor did not address it directly, technology clearly undergirded many of the state’s core issues and values.
Read the governor's address here


Colorado

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Address date: January 12, 2017
To sum it up: Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper kept to two main themes in addressing state legislators: bridging the divide between urban and rural areas and investing in the state’s future prosperity. And he frequently referenced the potential for technology to play a part in the state’s plans. One solution in bringing economic growth to rural areas is a proposal to bring infrastructure into the 21st century. Part of this effort is already underway with the RoadX program, a host of smarter transportation technologies that includes vehicle-to-everything communication sensors and a testbed for autonomous vehicles. However, smart infrastructure also includes laying down fiber to connect communities. “Every school, hospital, clinic and home should have high-speed Internet,” he said. Referencing that 30 percent of rural households lack access, Hickenlooper announced the creation of a broadband office to increase that number to 100. Another area where Colorado is attempting to distance itself from the pack is in its commitment to cybersecurity. First discussed in his 2016 address, Hickenlooper pointed to Colorado's cyberleadership through its National Cybersecurity Center, which helps businesses, nonprofits and government agencies combat and recover from cyberattacks, provides intelligence to public officials and bureaucrats, and conducts research into threats. New digital tools mentioned include the Colorado the Beautiful initiative's soon-to-be-released interactive map of more than 20,000 miles of publicly managed outdoor hiking trails, and the “Governor’s Dashboard,” which lets residents view progress on specific projects. He also mentioned the appointment of Digital Transformation Officer Brandon Williams earlier this year, and announced that a multi-agency app will be released later this year.
Read the governor's address here


Connecticut

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Address date: January 1, 2017
To sum it up: Gov. Dannel Malloy’s Jan. 1 State of the State address came with a sobering look at the state’s financial standing. But the roughly half-hour address only skimmed the surface of the state’s need to modernize its IT systems. The two-term governor’s address seemed to closely mirror the tone and tenor of his 2016 address, sans any mention of technology legislation or planned action in the space. In a tangentially related vein, Malloy did discuss the need for the state to continue its efforts to foster an environment for innovative companies and manufacturing, like the ones operating in the aerospace arena. He called on state officials and legislators to make government predictable, a theme that recurred throughout his address. But beneath the stark picture painted by Malloy, the themes of bolstering efficiencies, reducing redundancy and modernizing state government stood out. While the governor, who was elected in 2011, did not explicitly mention technology as part of the solution to the state's woes, it stands to reason that modernizing state functions is best achieved with modern technology capable of delivering a predictable citizen experience across state agencies.
Read the governor's address here


Delaware

Address date: To be determined


Florida

Stars: Zero
Address date: March 7, 2017
To sum it up: “Florida is a state full of fighters,” said Gov. Rick Scott during his State of the State speech, which focused on tax cuts and began with an overview of recent tragedies in Florida like the Pulse nightclub shooting. The theme of fighting — to create jobs, for tax cuts, to improve education — carried through Scott’s address, which lacked any references to technology. Scott established the Agency for State Technology in 2014, after the state’s IT office had been defunded twice in the past.
Read the governor's address here


Georgia

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Address date: January 11, 2017
To sum it up: Though Georgia’s State of the State address was dedicated to many of the same topics touched on by other governors — the economy, education, unemployment and the budget — Nathan Deal also drew attention to the need for improvements in prescription drug monitoring and cybersecurity. While he didn’t dive into the details of what improvements to the monitoring systems would look like, he outlined the plan for the new Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center and a partnership with the U.S. Army’s Fort Gordon Cyber Center of Excellence, Augusta University, and other public and private partners. The governor mentioned a $50 million investment in the state-owned facility and the ongoing efforts of state agencies and officials to make Georgia the “Silicon Valley of the South.” The center will be a hub for learning, training and fostering relationships with private-sector partners. Deal said the investment and efforts in this area will help to put the state at the forefront of the larger cybersecurity conversation.
Read the governor's address here


Hawaii

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Address date: January 23, 2017
To sum it up:
For Hawaii Gov. David Ige, 2017 promises to be a big year for innovation. While delivering his third State of the State address, Ige explained that Hawaii has had a long tradition of innovation, from creating new tools to dominate the pineapple harvesting industry to investing in air travel, creating one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The next economy will rely on “the development of an innovation sector,” said Ige. This includes innovating in energy, public education, housing and preserving the environment, and working closely with the University of Hawaii on solutions to those issues. 
One sector Ige is proud of is the work done by small businesses in the state. The HI Growth program helps foster startups by setting up an accelerator to nurture the small businesses. More than 140 startups have gone through the programs, generating over $250 million in total capital, with $10 million in investment. This civic entrepreneurship has been directly involved with some of Hawaii’s growth. Ige promoted the work done by the Office of Enterprise Technology Services, which creates “more efficient, effective and accountable” government. The office also held a code challenge, bringing local talent in to try and solve a widespread civic problem. The hackathon, according to Ige, was a success and led to several tech solutions, including an online visitor tool for families visiting loved ones in the Oahu Community Correctional Facility. Before the tool was created, this work was done manually and led to a proliferation of mistakes and missed appointments. Ige believes these types of solutions will help set Hawaii’s economy apart from the pack.
Read the governor's address here


Idaho

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Address date: January 9, 2017
To sum it up:
In Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s 2017 State of the State address, he made clear the connections among technology, education and cybersecurity, noting that all three were top priorities this year. In addition to millions in funding for classroom technology statewide and expanding efforts to encourage students to move onto higher education or career-technical education and training, the governor’s budget recommendation also includes funding for workforce development and expanding programs at four-year institutions and community colleges that support in-demand career fields like energy and computer science. Otter also noted that the state is working with the Idaho National Laboratory to strengthen colleges’ and universities’ capabilities in terms of addressing cyberattacks. “Cybercrime and even cyberwarfare are very real and growing threats,” he said. “The next hack here in Idaho could target more critical infrastructure, including our electrical grid, industrial control systems, military equipment or even or our personal vehicles.” Otter also said that work to establish and expand a joint cyberlab is under way. 
Read the governor's address here


Illinois

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Address date: January 25, 2017
To sum it up: It took Gov. Bruce Rauner less than four minutes of his State of the State address to start talking about specific technology initiatives Illinois state government is undertaking. Calling out tech-focused employees by name, Rauner pointed to the Department of Innovation and Technology’s data encryption efforts, its migration of physical files into digital systems and its cybersecurity work. He went on to highlight projects to build a digital process for professional license applications, move license renewal notifications online, and to fight fraud and abuse within the Medicaid system. He took care to highlight how these efforts save time and money, making government work better for citizens. Then, later in the speech, Rauner went on to talk about higher education funding as an effort to support the growth of technology jobs in the state. His attention to technology outpaces other governors in the Midwest and across the country, but his 2017 speech did not go as far as his address in 2016 — partially because 2016 was a banner year for government technology in Illinois. That was the year Rauner consolidated IT operations within the state, and at the time much of the work was in front of the technology department. But Rauner also failed to mention some of the big-picture work DOIT is doing, such as its “smart state” workshops and tech-focused collaboration with the Indian state of Telangana.
Read the governor's address here


Indiana

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Address date: January 17, 2017
To sum it up: Citing an increasingly globalized economy, Gov. Eric Holcomb’s Jan. 17 State of the State address focused on what Indiana must do to remain competitive in job creation. To this end, Holcomb emphasized several major investments, stressing throughout that attracting high-tech jobs was important to the state’s goals. He reiterated that over the next 10 years Indiana will invest $1 billion in entrepreneurship and innovation through the Next Level Indiana Fund, the 21st Century Fund, and a new grant program aimed at both local communities and higher education. With more than half of schools lacking Wi-Fi in classrooms, Holcomb pledged $1 million annually to increase digital connectivity and participation in federal E-rate matching programs. Pointing to having 30,000 unfilled jobs and 2 million residents lacking skills to do them, Holcomb also said the state will invest $2 million to regional grants that help workers get trained or credentialed in fields with high demand and wages. The jobs of the future, Holcomb said, will call for coders, scientists and engineers, as well as machinists, mechanics and welders. Although he didn’t provide stats or citations, the governor said tech jobs once going to Austin, Boston or Silicon Valley were now coming to Indiana. Absent from this address, Holcomb’s first, was the data sharing, correlation and analysis that Vice President Mike Pence used as governor to reduce infant deaths in Indiana, as were the state’s more recent efforts to curb its opioid crisis with analytics. Nor did Holcomb mention Indiana’s cybersecurity council, formed this year.
Read the governor's address here


Iowa

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Address date: January 10, 2017
To sum it up: In his 22nd and likely final Condition of the State address, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad mentioned the state’s science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) initiative twice, praising its leaders Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Kemin Industries President Chris Nelson for giving students the confidence and skills to find rewarding careers. “Sustaining these measures over time is critical to get the right results for our students and our state,” said Branstad, the nation’s longest-serving governor.
But he gave more time to the concept of “smaller, smarter government,” a phrase he used four times in remarks previewing reductions in a two-year proposed budget. It prioritizes education, health care, economic development and public safety, he said, and is aimed at helping the state tack against “a headwind out of Washington, D.C., that is stifling our agricultural economy” — and handling a drop in projected state tax revenue.
Even in challenging times, said the governor, Iowa should “continue to prioritize initiatives that will grow the state’s talent pipeline like the STEM initiative, registered apprenticeships and work-based learning.”
Branstad also cited the July 2015 death of bicyclist Grace Harken, killed by a motorist who was texting, calling on residents to demand change in laws targeting distracted or impaired drivers. “Modern technologies should come with new responsibilities,” he said.
Having been named the new U.S. ambassador to China, the address to the 87th Iowa General Assembly should be Branstad’s final such remarks ahead of his expected resignation later this year. 
Read the governor's address here


Kansas

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Address date: January 10, 2017
To sum it up: Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback used his 2017 State of the State address to remark on common themes of economic growth, educational improvement and quality-of-life issues. He also chose to emphasize the point that family, businesses and faith — not government — were the source of Kansas' strength. Brownback limited his remarks about technology to mention the need that "every student in every classroom, will have access to affordable, effective, high-speed Internet." The state, with 3 million residents, has seen tumultuous times since Brownback slashed incomes taxes several years ago, with the goal of stimulating new job growth. The result has been a series of readjustments to the state’s budget as revenue failed to meet forecasts. Brownback addressed that reality by emphasizing the need to downsize state government, cut regulation and steer clear of new entitlements (such as Medicaid expansion). If there is an opening for technology it was in Brownback’s emphasis on making government more efficient, an objective that has become more important in light of the state’s fiscal uncertainties.
Read the governor's address here


Kentucky

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Address date
: February 8, 2017
To sum it up: Gov. Matt Bevin kept his comments short on state use of technology while talking in detail about improving Kentucky's education system and creating a more business-friendly environment. “My vision is that Kentucky becomes the hub of excellence for engineering and manufacturing in America,” said Bevin. The state is allocating significant funds toward an apprenticeship program to boost manufacturing. Part of the educational reform will be through encouraging charter schools to come to the state; they won’t be bogged down in the bureaucratic process, said Bevin. The speech's main focus was on the steps being taken to boost economic production within the state and attract businesses to operate in it. One step Bevin was proud of was the state passing “right to work” legislation, which he believes will lead to greater business opportunities for large and small corporations. In terms of technology, Bevin spoke about his commitment to engaging constituents through social media. While pointing out that “traditional media is dying,” Bevin explained that his office will rely on direct communication and host more Facebook Live events.
Watch the governor's address here


Louisiana

Stars: Zero
Address date
: April 10, 2017
To sum it up: Gov. John Bel Edwards’ second State of the State address lacked any direct mentions of or plans for technology. During the April 10 speech, he discussed the importance of Medicaid expansion in Louisiana, revamping the Industrial Tax Exemption Program so local governments have a seat at the table, reforming the state’s tax and budget structure, re-engineering criminal laws, and the state’s gender wage gap, which Edwards said is the highest in the country. He also called for Louisiana to adopt a minimum wage — it’s one of five states that has not enacted a minimum wage law.
Read the governor's address here


Maine

Stars: Zero
Address date: February 7, 2017
To sum it up: Gov. Paul LePage took the majority of his State of the State address to rail against liberals. The partisan address touched on major issues like the state’s minimum wage, the opioid addiction crisis, and education and tax reform, but the speech failed to mention how technology could play into any of it. The only area where LePage came close to discussing technology was in regard to efforts to spur innovation and business growth, though he failed to elaborate on the specifics of the industries he would like to see settle into Maine.
Read the governor's address here


Maryland

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Address date:
February 1, 2017
To sum it up: Gov. Larry Hogan touched on a number of issues during his 2017 State of the State address Feb. 1, but technology did not factor prominently into the speech. The Republican governor focused most of his address on employment, fostering new jobs and the need for updated infrastructure. At two separate points in the speech, Hogan briefly mentioned the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) program, which is built around providing education opportunities to students in STEM fields, and the state’s proposed Clean Cars Act of 2017, which promotes investment in electric vehicles and tax credits for charging stations. At a third and equally brief point in his remarks, Hogan called for the passage of the Public Integrity Act of 2017, which would livestream all General Assembly proceedings for public viewing.
Read the governor's address here
 


Massachusetts

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Address date: January 24, 2017
To sum it up: Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker had good reason to deliver a State of the State address that accentuated the positive. Highlights included the state’s high-flying economy — with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country; the recent relocation of industrial giant General Electric Co. to Boston; and a No. 1 ranking among states for innovation by Bloomberg — as well as an excellent education system that placed Massachusetts students first in the nation for reading and math.
The state’s economic, innovation and educational prowess has also translated into a robust digital economy, with Massachusetts ranked as one of the top three states in the country when it comes to the development of cybersecurity technology, according to Baker. The governor also spoke on efforts to bring fiber broadband to the western and more rural areas of Massachusetts. Since last May, he said, “we completely overhauled the Last Mile program for our rural communities. We started with 53 towns lacking high-speed Internet access. And while there’s still more work to be done, in just six months we’ve moved a dozen towns forward. That’s more progress on local broadband access than in the last five years.”
The state has also converted its main toll highway into an all-electronic charging system, replacing human toll operators with a wireless collection system. 
Of course, the state faces major challenges, including a raging opioid epidemic, aging transit infrastructure, and an overburdened social support system for vulnerable families. But Baker stuck to the positives, including his willingness to work closely as a Republican governor with a state Legislature that is overwhelmingly Democrat.
Read the governor's address here


Michigan

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Address date: January 17, 2017
To sum it up: Gov. Rick Snyder, now entering his sixth year leading Michigan, spent most of his speech looking backward rather than forward. The major themes of his speech were focused on the economy and education, and throughout he wove in mentions of technology — without going into great detail about future plans. Snyder did mention the need to make further investments in Michigan’s prescription drug monitoring system, infrastructure and technical education programs. Specifically, Snyder said he wants to create a working group with the Legislature to support computer science and coding education. He also highlighted the state’s autonomous vehicle testing assets, including the University of Michigan’s MCity, the development of the 300-acre Willow Run facility and the smart mobility initiative called Planet M. The U.S. Department of Transportation recently named the Willow Run site, called the American Mobility Center, one of 10 official autonomous vehicle testing sites in the U.S. He also welcomed tech companies setting up shop in Michigan and briefly mentioned a government Web portal listing open jobs within the state, mitalent.org.
Read the governor's address here


Minnesota

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Address date: January 23, 2017
To sum it up:
In his next-to-last State of the State address, Gov. Mark Dayton previewed the release of the state budget and called for creation of a public health insurance option and spending $371 million to increase the per-pupil aid formula by 2 percent. Dayton, who was first elected in 2010, said the state’s first priority should be building a successful future and ensuring the government’s “continued fiscal integrity and budget security.” The governor challenged Minnesota to boost investments in the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State, calling these “crucial to meeting businesses’ future workforce needs.”
Dayton highlighted Rochester, Minn., tech company GoRout — ready to increase its sales this year, he said, but having trouble finding trained staff to hire. “If he can’t add the skilled workers he needs, he worries that his financial backers will pressure him to move his business elsewhere,” Dayton said of company founder Mike Rolih. “One investor said Rochester needs only one or two success stories like GoRout to make the city the magnet for investors that it wants to be.”
Read the governor's address here


Mississippi

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Address date: January 17, 2017
To sum it up: Gov. Phil Bryant’s 2017 speech’s key points focused on low unemployment rates, improving the public education and foster care systems, and the state’s budget — but technology did make a couple of appearances. The Federal Aviation Administration selected Mississippi State University as a Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), and it works with 22 other research institutions as well as government and industry partners as part of the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence. “Unmanned aerial vehicles and systems will change the world as we know it,” Bryant said, “but not until the standards and practices have been established here in Mississippi.” He also mentioned visiting the Vicksburg-Warren School District’s Academy of Innovation, which features a STEM program, and said “such innovation will bring about the real-world improvement in career and college readiness.” 
Read the governor's address here


Missouri

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Address date: January 17, 2017
To sum it up: Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens touched on many significant issues during his 2017 State of the State address, the least of which was how technology would play into the larger state strategy. The first-term governor did, however, touch on the need to expand access to technology for educational purposes, as well as the need to update legacy systems employed across the state. In one such comment on the barriers to business, Greitens pointed to systems relying on COBOL, which he said was developed in 1959. “We need a modern government that allows people to do more online instead of making them wait in line,” he said. The governor, like many others included in this series, focused on the need for stable and gainful employment opportunities, resources for public safety agencies and clearer lines of communication for businesses with the state agencies that regulate them.
Read the governor's address here


Montana

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Address date: January 24, 2017
To sum it up: Although Gov. Steve Bullock’s Jan. 24 State of the State address was largely focused on Montana’s long-term future, mentions of tech were scarce, limited to brief talk of improving Internet access in schools. In a list of the state’s achievements over the past four years, Bullock cited efforts to expand connectivity, saying 40 percent of K-12 students now have better Internet access. Later in his remarks, the governor called for an additional $2 million to further build Internet into schools because “that investment will be leveraged up to eight times over.” While Bullock questioned the sense of his Legislature’s proposal to cut workers from Montana’s Child and Family Services Division, he made no mention of the new computer program for that agency’s casework, which was recently delayed. Also absent from the speech was any reference to ongoing questions about widespread government failure to store emails of importance in the state archive, despite a law requiring that.
Read the governor's address here


Nebraska

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Address date: January 12, 2017
To sum it up: Gov. Pete Ricketts, now halfway through his first four-year term, called for cutting the state income tax and improving the fairness of the agricultural property tax, but also laid out a budget proposal he said would provide more resources for education and Child and Family Services and protect reforms to state corrections — one of several state agencies that has recently increased its tech savvy. The Department of Environmental Quality cut wait times by launching online applications for storm water permits and new general air construction permits, Ricketts told members of the 105th Legislature. The Department of Health and Human Services debuted ACCESSNebraska, a portal that has also reduced average wait times on calls, improved SNAP application processing, and saved the state $17 million. 
Like Arkansas, Nebraska is in the process of merging agencies to improve efficiencies, the governor said. The state recently announced its division of veterans homes and its department of veterans will merge in an effort to cut red tape and streamline services. A planned merger of the departments of roads and aeronautics into the department of transportation is also underway. 
The department of corrections, he noted, successfully launched an automated sentence calculation program, implemented its first-ever risks/needs assessment tool, and completed a culture study and staffing analysis. 
He acknowledged farm revenues, and thereby state tax revenues, are down. But his new budget, Ricketts said, would increase funding to K-12 education an average of 2.7 percent annually, “amounting to an historic high of over a billion dollars per year in general fund support.”
Read the governor's address here


Nevada

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Address date: January 17, 2017
To sum it up: Gov. Brian Sandoval’s final State of the State speech began with heavy emphasis on economic success. Sandoval boasted that Nevada is in its sixth year of consecutive job growth. After detailing his budget plans, he turned the conversation to tech. The governor announced that the state is on its way to becoming a global center for innovation in technology, and that education and the workforce are the most crucial areas in which to promote this progress. His agenda incorporates workforce training and investment in engineering sciences. Sandoval then discussed funding technology in education, namely through his Connect Kids Initiative, which is poised to ensure high-speed broadband access in every school, regardless of whether it's in an urban or rural area. The governor’s speech remained focused on technology as he moved into the discussion of renewable energy projects, drones and autonomous vehicles. He noted that Elon Musk has publicly dubbed Nevada the “get it done state.” After announcing the creation of the state’s first cyberdefense coordinator and first cyberdefense center, Sandoval dedicated the remainder of the speech to other policy areas, such as health and state parks. Gov. Sandoval's final State of the State address looked toward the future with his instructive statement: “As technology evolves, so must we.”
Read the governor's address here


New Hampshire

Address date: To be determined


New Jersey

Stars: Zero
Address date: January 10, 2017
To sum it up: There were only two parts of term-limited Gov. Chris Christie’s 2017 State of the State address: highlights of his administration’s accomplishments and a call for the state to dedicate itself to fighting opioid addiction. That didn’t leave much room for talk of technology, though Christie could have talked about the state’s prescription drug monitoring program or the data-sharing partnership it struck up with New York last year. Christie did use the speech to announce the launch of a “one-stop shop” website and an accompanying hotline to help people find information about treatment and other services. Beyond that, Christie’s topics included his administration’s slashing of 31,000 state and local government jobs in the past seven years, a $2.3 billion decrease in spending compared with nine years ago, and increased payments to the public pension fund. New Jersey is due for tax cuts in 2017 and 2018 as well.
Read the governor's address here


New Mexico

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Address date: January 17, 2017
To sum it up: Gov. Susana Martinez delivered her 2017 address on Jan. 17 in a state suffering grave budget challenges tied to the 71 percent decrease in oil prices over the past year and a half. One-third of New Mexico’s budget is tied to oil and gas revenue, forcing the state to continue to look for new efficiencies and work toward a more diverse economic base. Economic development successes Martinez pointed to include a Facebook data center coming to New Mexico, which she hopes will be just the beginning of the social media giant’s footprint in the state. She also spoke of the importance of transparency in improving governmental decision-making, urging legislative committees to stream and archive all their proceedings online. State investments in education, she reported, are reaping rewards in the form of lower dropout rates and the improved performance of public schools, as scored by the school accountability program. 
Read the governor's address here


New York

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Address date: January 9-11, 2017
To sum it up: Gov. Andrew Cuomo flipped the traditional script and delivered six regional State of the State addresses between Jan. 9 and 11, offering tailored messages for New York City, Western New York, the Hudson Valley, Long Island, Capital Region and Central New York. A couple of tech-related themes made their way into Cuomo’s speeches, including his desire to legalize ridesharing outside of New York City, a strategy he positions as key to the expansion of the state’s innovation economy. Cuomo also spoke at length about plans to educate kids in technical fields and develop a 21st-century workforce prepared for tomorrow’s jobs, specifically mentioning investments in computer science curriculum and public-private partnerships aimed at aligning course work with workforce needs. Plans also include a $2 million proposal for a cohort of computer science teachers to participate in the state’s Master Teachers program, designed to keep high-achieving teachers in the classroom and spread effective teaching practices. In Cuomo’s comprehensive State of the State book, he also calls for a Cyber Incident Response Team within the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Office of Counter Terrorism to help prepare for and respond to cyberincidents.
Read the governor's addresses here


North Carolina

Address date: To be determined


North Dakota

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Address date: January 3, 2017
To sum it up: Newly elected Gov. Doug Burgum spoke consistently about technology in broad strokes throughout his first State of the State address without giving much in the way of concrete plans. Burgum, whose decades of technology experience include time spent at Microsoft and Atlassian, spoke about emerging technology as a driving force to transform the economy and government — specifically health care, education and infrastructure. Burgum said the state needs “automatically generated data” to improve its decision-making and pointed toward citizen feedback as a critical tool for improving infrastructure spending. In the meantime, he wants to begin pushing state government agencies to get more efficient: “When I took office 19 days ago, I challenged our cabinet members to spend less time defending institutions and more time reinventing them,” he said. “They’re responding with enthusiasm for this quest.” Burgum did not, however, mention the state’s burgeoning drone testing program.
Read the governor's address here


Ohio

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Address date: April 4, 2017
To sum it up: Gov. John Kasich had a lot to say in his April 4 address about Ohio’s progress during his term in office. He pointed to Amazon’s cloud computing operation in the state as evidence of Ohio’s strength as a hub for business and job creation, adding that Amazon now employs 6,000 residents of the state. Forbes now ranks Ohio the 11th-best state for business — 27 places higher than its rank five years ago. Kasich also announced a proposal to create a chief innovation officer for the state, tasked with leading a newly created Ohio Institute of Technology — a move he’s quick to clarify doesn’t represent an expansion of government, rather a reorganization of existing resources. “That person will mine our strengths, coordinate our resources, and always [be] looking ahead to what's coming next,” he said. The speech was peppered with many references to new tech on the horizon and the impacts it will have on our daily lives, including autonomous cars and trucks, drones, big data, sensors, personalized medicine and artificial intelligence. Kasich implored citizens to prepare for the various changes such technologies bring, noting its potential to make government more efficient in serving citizens. “Change is coming, whether we like it or not, so let’s accept the change, but reject the fear and the hesitancy and the unwillingness to prepare.” Toward that end, he announced a task force joining government, academia and industry to prepare the workforce for tomorrow’s economy. One industry segment sure to evolve as a result is commercial trucking: Kasich mentioned Columbus’ selection as the U.S. DOT’s Smart City Challenge winner, making it a hub for intelligent transportation.
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Oklahoma

Stars:
Address date
: February 6, 2017
To sum it up:Gov. Mary Fallin delivered a succinct address on the state of Oklahoma. Her focus was split into a few main points — education, health, public safety and infrastructure — and included two brief references to technology. While discussing education, Fallin said the "very top-heavy system" is in need of reform in order to provide more resources to students and teachers. "The state already provides a number of services that schools could voluntarily take advantage of to save money, such as IT services, purchasing and bonding assistance," she said. The other tech reference was made while Fallin was addressing Oklahoma's incarceration rates, saying they are the second highest in the U.S. and will require two new prisons to be built or leased if reform doesn't take place. To identify how to change the system, Fallin said she created the Oklahoma Justice Reform Task Force "to find data-driven, smart-on-crime policies to focus on improving public safety." And in line with many governors' speeches, she addressed the need for a skilled, educated workforce and proposed $20 million for higher-education programs. While tech was not directly mentioned as part of that effort, its role in changing the workforce has been a constant topic.
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Oregon

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Address date: January 9, 2017
To sum it up:
Citing the particularly harsh rhetoric that accompanied the 2016 general election, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown quoted her gubernatorial predecessors imploring her legislative partners to “work not in partisanship, but in partnership.” While addressing the Legislature, Brown kept her comments to mostly non-controversial topics, including education and infrastructure. While acknowledging Oregon's growing economy, Brown pointed out the increasing disparities between urban and rural regions of the state. In order to combat the economy “growing like a gangly teenage boy: overnight and out of control,” the state needs to invest in workforce development, infrastructure, collaboration and innovation. Part of this effort no doubt will be to bridge the digital divide within the state. That was the driving force behind construction of the Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center in Columbia County, which has an unemployment rate higher than the rest of the state; 12 companies have already pledged to work with the center. Brown also cited the need for a renewed effort to fix the state’s infrastructure. 
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Pennsylvania

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Address date: February 7, 2017
To sum it up: Gov. Tom Wolf’s Feb. 7 budget address called on lawmakers to streamline government bureaucracy, “making Harrisburg work smarter,” though there were few specific mentions of technology. When tech was mentioned, few details were given. Centralizing shared services like IT was among the specific reforms he outlined to save taxpayers more than $2 billion. Emphasizing the pre-eminent importance of Pennsylvania’s education system, Wolf talked briefly about a couple of technically oriented training programs. And in addressing impacts of the opioid epidemic, he referred to the state’s prescription monitoring database, launched last August, aimed at arming health-care professionals with more complete data on patient prescriptions to cut down on doctor shopping and abuse.
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Rhode Island

Stars: Zero
Address date: January 17, 2017
To sum it up: The theme of Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo’s 2017 State of the State address was strength. The state’s economy, business climate and workforce, schools, environment and veterans are stronger. Rhode Island’s infrastructure also is stronger, she said, due to a comprehensive infrastructure program passed in 2016. Thanks to the RhodeWorks program, highways are being fixed and repairs on nearly 120 bridges will be started or completed by the end of 2017. Despite the successes, however, Raimondo acknowledged a specific challenge over the last year: rollout of the Unified Health Infrastructure Project, which has failed to meet expectations after deployment and is still causing trouble. Raimondo assured citizens that she has taken measures to improve accountability, and that Rhode Island taxpayers will not pay a penny more for the system (beyond the $364 million already invested) “until I am satisfied that we are getting what we paid for.”
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South Carolina

Stars: Zero
Address date: January 11, 2017
To sum it up: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s seventh State of the State address on Jan. 11 was her last as she heads to New York to assume the position she was appointed to by incoming President Donald Trump, ambassador to the United Nations. Her speech was long on reflections from her time in office and praise for South Carolina and its people, but short on mentions of specific policies. As for plans for the state's future and how technology might play a role, that will be
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South Dakota

Stars:
Address date: January 10, 2017
To sum it up: Much of Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s Jan. 10 State of the State address drew connections between technology and improving government. Transparency and accessibility ranked as the most prevalent topics. Daugaard said South Dakota will be the first state with a completely online pardon application process. He also voiced pride in opening government by putting economic development grants, restaurant inspections, and information on oil, gas and water drilling online. He praised Open.SD.gov as a hub for info on grants, contracts, payroll and vendor payments, and Rules.SD.gov for letting citizens track and comment on proposed rules. Two years ago, the governor noted, South Dakota launched a portal centralizing state board and commission membership info, agendas, minutes, finance reports and audits. Daugaard will now support legislation institutionalizing this to ensure it exists after he leaves office in January 2019. In further transparency efforts, board and commission meetings are now streamed online at SD.net. Daugaard cited a pair of ratings as evidence of ongoing tech improvement. The Public Interest Research Group gave South Dakota an A- for online access to government financial data, up from a D+ in 2011. Three major credit-rating agencies gave the state AAA ratings, which the governor connected to financial information being online. Economically, Daugaard cited online retailers as cause for weak sales tax, which contributed to a $5.8 million revenue drop. However, the state reached an agreement with Amazon.com to collect and remit state and local sales taxes starting Feb. 1, joining 29 other states. In law enforcement, Daugaard plans to ask for an update of outdated wiretapping statutes to include cellphones, enabling the state to better combat drug trafficking and meth use.
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Tennessee

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Address date: January 30, 2017
To sum it up: Gov. Bill Haslam’s State of the State speech focused on education, the economy and a potential tax increase to fund transportation and infrastructure projects. But technology did take center stage for a moment. Haslam discussed the need to increase access to broadband in rural areas and said the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act was introduced Jan. 26 as part of an effort to bring high-speed Internet to the 800,000 state residents who currently lack access. The act would provide $45 million in grants and tax credits to encourage telecom providers to expand their access and encourage nonprofit electric coops to provide retail broadband service. “Accessibility without adoption doesn’t accomplish very much,” he added, “so we’re also focusing on digital literacy so interested Tennesseans can maximize the benefits of broadband.” And in line with other governors’ calls to prepare students for future jobs, Haslam proposed a $15 million investment in career and technical education equipment but did not elaborate on the topic.
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Texas

Stars:
Address date: January 31, 2017
To sum it up: In his third State of the State address, Gov. Greg Abbott highlighted Texas’ petroleum prowess — “[leading] the nation in areas like oil and gas” — but also predicted a shift from traditional power. Texas, Abbott said, “is in the middle of an innovation renaissance that weans our economy off of energy.”
“Biotech. Defense tech. Wearable tech. Clean tech. Technologies developed in Texas are changing the world in which we live,” the governor said, pointing out that the Dallas, Houston and Austin areas are considered “knowledge capitals.” Midland, Abbott said, beats the tech stronghold San Francisco area in the percentage of jobs created by startups.
The governor hailed veteran Tiffany Tremont, now president and CEO of Silotech Group, a San Antonio company providing cybersecurity and IT solutions. He also lauded Richard Miles, a member of the prestigious National Academy of Engineering, for joining the Aerospace Engineering Department at Texas A&M — and called for the Governor’s University Research Initiative, which helped lure Miles from Princeton, to be funded again. “His work places Texas A&M and the state of Texas at the forefront of laser and optical technology that can enhance national security,” Abbott said.
Like other governors, he leaned on responsible budgeting — calling for spending cuts to ensure the state lives within its means — but also praised Education Commissioner Mike Morath for improving schools’ online access and developing math innovation zones.
Eighty percent of Texas voters agree the state should fund optional high-quality pre-K education, Abbott said, adding later: “We must do more to help our public schools educate our children.”
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Utah

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Address date: January 25, 2017
To sum it up: Like many of his contemporaries, Gov. Gary Herbert used his State of the State address to focus on technology as a building block of the economy and not so much as a tool the government can use to serve constituents. He used some form of the words “innovation” and “technology” a combined 13 times, and almost every instance involved jobs or education as a pathway to jobs. Unlike many of his fellow governors, Herbert used the speech to unveil a specific initiative meant to enhance technology in the state — Talent Ready Utah. Housed within the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the initiative pulls together partner organizations in the education, government, private and nonprofit sectors to build a talent pipeline focused on high-paying jobs, with a significant focus on science, technology, engineering and math. Through Talent Ready Utah, Herbert is directing the office to leverage businesses to invest in education programs that will build up future employees, with a target of filling 40,000 high-skill jobs in the next four years. Herbert spoke briefly about the role technology plays in cleaning the air — including expansion of the Utah transit system — but didn’t mention the state technology department, a perennial leader in the Center for Digital Government and Government Technology’s Digital States Survey that consistently finds innovative ways to improve government.
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Vermont

Stars: Zero
Address date: January 5, 2017
To sum it up: Recently elected Gov. Phil Scott opened his first State of the State speech by thanking former Gov. Peter Shumlin for all the years he served Vermont. He then turned to the transition of power and his plans for moving forward. Scott's vision includes policy areas that IT plays a role in, but he did not directly mention technology. First on his agenda is to get the opiate epidemic under control and to treat it with the same urgency of any other health crisis. Next, he discussed the economy and stimulating economic development by expanding workforce efforts. The governor went on to describe the shortcomings of Vermont’s education system and his plans to transform that system. Finally, he stressed the importance of a sustainable budget in order to enable the progress he seeks in other areas.
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Virginia

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Address date: January 11, 2017
To sum it up: Gov. Terry McAuliffe covered an expansive range of topics and policy areas in his State of the State address, but he focused heavily on economic development through jobs and education, and outlined the work needed on the state’s health-care and veteran services. Although McAuliffe did not focus on technology, he mentioned some of the most prominent topics in tech a couple times as an aside to these policy areas. He listed cybersecurity, data analytics and autonomous vehicles as just a few of the technologies needed to spark innovation and stimulate job growth. On cybersecurity, he cited the statistic that Virginia experienced one cyberattack every four seconds in 2016. McAuliffe also briefly mentioned his proposal for “full-time, high-quality virtual learning” to be available to every Virginia student.
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Washington

Stars: Zero
Address date: January 11, 2017
To sum it up: Gov. Jay Inslee’s Jan. 11 State of the State address did not discuss technology or its role in the state, despite Washington ranking high in overall use of technology, and the fact that it's home to facilities for privatized space exploration ventures such as Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s Space X. Inslee instead focused on the importance of fully funding K-12 education to prepare youth for the future. Inslee’s speech was almost singularly focused on this, which he described as “not just a big challenge but as a historic opportunity.” The governor detailed the impact fully funded education would have, describing a state in which public schools retain the best teachers, at-risk kids receive extra mentoring time, students learn practical skills to get good jobs right out of high school, and counselors, psychologists and nurses provide auxiliary services that bolster graduation rates. To accomplish this, Inslee said his budget is asking a small percentage of the state’s wealthiest to pay more on gains from investments. Conversely, three out of four Washington households and businesses will receive property tax cuts. Open data, which was an issue in Washington state last year, was not mentioned.
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West Virginia

Stars: Zero
Address date: February 8, 2017
To sum it up: Gov. Jim Justice spent much of his first annual State of the State address discussing West Virginia’s dire fiscal situation and what could be done to fix the problem. The Mountain State faces a $200 million budget deficit for its current fiscal year (the state’s 2017 budget is $4.6 billion), which is expected to grow to $500 million next fiscal year. The state’s budget crisis has been described as its worst since the Great Depression. While cuts have been made to services, the state has relied heavily on its rainy-day fund to balance the books and is now in danger of depleting it to the point where its bond rating could collapse, according to the governor. To correct the dire situation, Justice has recommended a series of increases in taxes and fees. Not helping the situation is the fact that West Virginia’s largest industry — coal mining — is in severe decline as the country’s power plants switch to cleaner natural gas. Without new revenue sources, the governor warned that state services could be cut back significantly.
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Wisconsin

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Address date: January 10, 2017
To sum it up: Employment and education were the main themes of Gov. Scott Walker’s State of the State speech. As part of a long-term planning process, Walker held a listening session in every county in Wisconsin, completing the 77th session on Dec. 22, 2016. During the statewide address, he said access to high-speed and reliable Internet service was a topic that came up at nearly every listening session. To address this, he proposed that the state invest an additional $35.5 million in the broadband access grant program as well as tech upgrades and teacher training in small and rural school districts. “That would bring our total investment to $52 million,” said Walker. “The great thing about the Broadband Expansion Grant program is that once the high-speed network is in, the rest is up to the local telecommunication provider — there is no need for a permanent government program.” Tech is also being used to continue the conversations with the public. Walker said he planned to host a Facebook Live session later in January.
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Wyoming

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Address date: January 11, 2017
To sum it up: When Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead gave his seventh State of the State address, he focused heavily on prior and consistent use of the state’s “rainy day” fund during tough economic times — but there is still a surplus in this fund, he assured attendees. Mead made brief mention of new facilities at the University of Wyoming that will strengthen the state’s representation as a leader in education, technology and innovation, and roughly halfway through, he called attention to his “focus on the technology sector.” He said that with the state’s Unified Network, and its annual broadband and global technology summits, among other initiatives, tech continues to emerge as a viable economic sector. On the surface, the state’s carbon initiative — which looks at building an industry around CO2—may not seem like a tech-heavy endeavor, but Mead called out that this means investing in advanced energy technologies and innovation. An Integrated Test Center currently under construction is part of this effort, as is the relationships the state fostered with XPrize, which has assembled a $10 million prize for the team that can figure out how to capture that CO2 and use it to make it a useful product. “It's very important to have that innovation here in Wyoming,” Mead said.
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