The GT National Technology SnapShot

The GT National Technology SnapShot

by / June 30, 1999

Two bills in Secretary of State Jim Bennett's election reform package, including a measure that will require, for the first time, the electronic filing of campaign finance reports, passed the House. Under Bennett's proposal, candidates raising or spending more than $100,000 would file their disclosure forms on customized software, simplifying the process for candidates and allowing the results to be transferred to the Internet for public access.


The first launch of an orbital satellite from the Kodiak Launch Complex is planned for August 2000, Gov. Tony Knowles announced. The launch of the Vegetation Canopy Lidar satellite by NASA and Lockheed Martin Astronautics will also be the first commercial launch from the Alaska Aerospace Development Corporation's new dual-use facility.


A $500,000 grant was awarded to Pima Community College by the Department of Commerce and will be used to establish a computer laboratory with 20 workstations on tribal land in New Pascua. The lab will be a tribal resource for education, vocational training and communication. The site will be connected to both Pima Community College and the University of Arizona via a T1 line.


SB 354, now Act 995, amends the Manufacturers Investment Tax Credit Act of 1985 to expand eligibility to include businesses engaged in computer-programming services, development of prepackaged software, digital-content production and preservation, computer processing and data processing, information-retrieval services, motion-picture production and commercial physical and biological research.


Santa Monica has opened its budget process to the average citizen via the Internet, allowing online suggestions from those who might be unable to attend council meetings in person. The program is part of the city's Web site . Western City


Colorado legislators approved a bill severely limiting the use of automated devices that take photos of drivers caught speeding on radar.


In just five years, the membership of the Connecticut Technology Council has grown from 38 to 204, an indication of the rapid growth of biotech, high-tech and information technology industries in Connecticut, according to the office of Gov. John Rowland.


To ease summertime crowding along Delaware's coastline, the state is employing a new surveillance system to identify snarled traffic and allow traffic signals to be appropriately coordinated. Traffic information could also then be posted or broadcast to motorists.


The Florida State Times reported that Florida State University nuclear physicists are hosting the Caribbean Radiation Early Warning System to detect radiation leaks in the region. The system is a reaction to Cuba's plan to open its first nuclear plant in December 2000.


Access to local ordinances is about to get easier for Peachtree City residents. The city is in the process of posting its entire ordinance book, which will be formatted with chapters in alphabetical order, to the city's Web site. Residents will be able to review ordinances by simply going online.


Gov. Benjamin Cayetano released $12 million from his $45 million construction budget to upgrade the electrical wiring and power capacity in Hawaii's public schools so that climate-controlled classrooms can house more computers. This is the first step in the governor's commitment to improve the educational technical infrastructure throughout the state.


The Boise Police Department promptly posts media releases on its Web site , including reports of crimes, suspect descriptions and investigation status. Local media is already used to the availability of this information, but the Web site makes it available to all citizens.


The state beefed up its attack on Y2K in April,
switching from quarterly updates to monthly progress reports by all state agencies. Other moves include establishing a "watch list" of state agencies that are not addressing critical areas or failing to meet reporting deadlines.


The state is sending students to the moon. Virtually. Moonlink is a program through which more than 30 schools in the state participate in aerospace and tech-related online curricula. Contact the coordinator at 800/877-5182.


A bill issued by the Iowa House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, House File 762, containing language for the creation of an Information Technology Department effective July 1, 2000, passed the House on a vote of 81-12.


Olathe is contracting with Formal Systems America Inc. for Y2K services. The city is using the contractor to assess and remediate its utility-billing system.


As of May, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife has enabled the purchase of gift-shop items, selected licenses and subscriptions to the department's Kentucky Afield magazine. The site, KyDirect, is accessible from the state's home page .


The state awarded a $13.4 million contract for statewide implementation of the SAP human resources and payroll systems. The purpose of the 18-month project is to implement a new integrated human resource/payroll system to replace the many statewide and agency internal systems that require multiple entries of the same data. The integrated system will resolve many of the problems with the existing systems and will provide more accurate and up-to-date data on the more than 100,000 state employees.


The Maine Bureau of Medical Services'
Division of Medical Information Technology, with the help of PLATINUM InfoReports, created an intranet so users of the Maine Medicaid Decision Support System (MMDSS) and other databases could access the data with a familiar and friendly Web browser interface.


Logan Online allows fifth-grade students and teachers at Baltimore County's Logan Elementary to use computers, e-mail, the Internet and other telecommunications technology to do lessons and expand the scope of their learning.


An estimated 1,600 government employees and more than 235 exhibitors attended a May conference in Boston on contracting and procurement that included discussions of information technology and the EMall multistate online procurement project.


Gov. John Engler signed legislation that authorized $3,421,195 in community policing grants to local law enforcement agencies throughout Michigan. This latest round of grant money will be used to purchase mobile data computers/laptops, crime-and-analysis hardware/software, mapping software/geographic information systems, computer-related software, personal computers, computer-aided dispatch systems and automated booking systems/automated fingerprint identification systems.


Minnesota's "Connecting Minnesota" fiber-optic network will continue moving forward following a ruling in May in Ramsey County District Court. Judge Kathleen Gearin dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Minnesota Telephone Association and MEANS Telecom to stop the project. The court rejected the companies' claims that the contract unfairly grants exclusive rights-of-way to the vendor the state selected for the project.


Russell Ferguson, one of the first employees hired at the state Department of Information Technology Services when it was created in 1970, retired as earlier this year after having risen to deputy director.


In response to Boeing's announcement that it would be eliminating thousands of jobs in the state over the next two years, Gov. Mel Carnahan and key members of the Missouri General Assembly worked together to pass into law a small-business funding program designed to help displaced tech workers looking to start their own businesses. The New Enterprise Creation Act establishes a seed capital investment fund to assist
businesses involved in areas such as manufacturing, processing, research and development, and other technology-
oriented endeavors.


Alexsander Rebane, associate professor of physics at the Montana State University, Bozeman, was a recipient in this year's Wylie Awards, which recognize research achievements and creativity in the university system. Rebane is a principal founder of MSU's new Spectral Information Technology laboratory and has received international awards for his contributions to optic holography and data storage.


Acting CIO Steve Schafer assumed the role on a permanent basis in April. Schafer is the governor's liaison for Census 2000, administrator for the Intergovernmental Data Services Division of the state Department of Administrative Services, and chairman of the Nebraska Intergovernmental Data Communications Advisory Council.


Clark County in May put thousands of district court records and judicial calendars on the county's Web site . The court section of the site also offers judicial profiles and other information. In addition to improving public access to judicial records, the latest addition to the site
is expected to reduce time-consuming
telephone inquiries.

New Hampshire

The state Executive Council is spending $60,000 on computer equipment and services to implement the department network system.

New Jersey

Gov. Christine Whitman applauded plans by five higher-education institutions to use funds provided through the Higher Education Technology Infrastructure Act to more fully integrate advanced telecommunications and networking technologies into teaching, research and learning. The Higher Education Technology Infrastructure fund provides $50 million for development of technology infrastructure at the state's 45 public and independent higher-education institutions with a public mission, and $5 million for public library grants and statewide library infrastructure though the New Jersey State Library.

New Mexico

The state's Child Support Enforcement System has become the first in the region to receive full federal certification. New Mexico is only the 16th of the 54 states and territories to receive that seal of approval, according to Andersen Consulting, which worked with the state on the system.

New York

At his 1999 Criminal Justice Conference in Albany, Gov. George Pataki announced New York will be first to utilize a computerized crime pin-mapping system for the entire state. This computer system will ensure that all police agencies within the state have the latest information and complete data to deploy their resources in a coordinated attack on crime.

North Carolina

North Carolina is making strides in the integration of data among its nearly two-dozen state departments. For example, the Wildlife Resources Commission has an NT environment and the Motor Vehicles Division uses one of the four IBM ES 9672 processors in the state data center.

North Dakota

Gov. Ed Schafer vetoed a bill seeking to impose a 40-cent monthly tax on cellular phones. The new tax was created to fund improvements to the state's 911 emergency system. In his veto message, Schafer said that his veto does not jeopardize the current 911 system.


On the slate for the June 22-25 Mayors Association of Ohio conference were discussions of cable-television and electric-utility deregulation, as well as courts, criminal sentencing and municipal contracting, and a roundtable to address Y2K.


In April, Gov. Frank Keating's Y2K task force put up a Web site that includes contact information for individual commission members and Y2K-specific links at the federal and state levels.


Corvallis facilities at public parks that are available for rent can be reserved via the Internet. If the requested time is available, the parks department reserves the slot and mails out the park


Police in Derry Township in Hershey signed a contract in April to install new computer-aided dispatch (CAD) and records-management software (RMS). The plan calls for two CAD stations and 10 RMS stations to be set up at the Derry Police Department.

Rhode Island

State Sen. John Celona is trying to have Rhode Island join the multistate procurement network EMall. At press time, Gov. Lincoln Arnold was studying Celona's proposal.

South Carolina

To help state officials understand the Freedom of Information Act, the Municipal Association of South Carolina hosted a May 13 satellite broadcast to discuss what information agencies must make available to the media, and rules involving openness of meetings of government bodies.

South Dakota

Gov. Bill Janklow's recently appointed Y2K task force will gather information on the Y2K compliance status and progress of systems, such as utilities, communications, health care, nursing care, public works, law enforcement and emergency services. Monthly progress reports will be submitted by the group.


The Knoxville Police Department is using City Watch, a computerized multiline messaging system that can automatically contact neighborhood watch groups, issue crime alerts to residents and businesses, and send bulletins to neighboring police departments.


Leaders in Texas' telecommunications industry will invest more than $5 million in telecommunications engineering educational programs between 1998 and 2002. The 11 Texas businesses that are members of the Texas Telecommunications Engineering Consortium (TxTEC) have already awarded $1 million in scholarships and graduate fellowships.


Utah's Division of Purchasing and General Services recently awarded the first in a new series of statewide contracts designated as a "MC" or Master Contract. This new contract covers a wide range of computer programming and consulting services. The new MC includes 32 Utah-based contractors, both small and large, who either employ or have local access to a large and diverse group of information technology specialists.


The General Assembly enacted a law allowing the keeping of public records in an electronic format. H. 117 permits the commissioner of general services to administer an electronic capture program for public records and allows such documents to be used in courts and other public offices.


A Prince William County telephone system allows homebuilders, contractors and homeowners to get current information on construction plans and inspections for specific projects. County News


A May assessment of state government computer systems found that 37 of 40 state agencies, boards and higher-education institutions and boards had been certified Y2K compliant or had received a "low-risk" rating.

West Virginia

Interactive video, being installed as part of West Virginia's Courtroom of the Future program, allows judges and magistrates to conduct court proceedings remotely through high-speed video links between courthouses and jails. Participants see and hear each other with high picture and sound quality, giving the sense of being in the same room. Prisoners can make initial court appearances without leaving the jail -- saving travel time and costs of increasing security -- and probation officers can meet with clients remotely.


In his biennial capital budget, Gov. Tommy Thompson included $3.7 million for a technology-wing addition to the student center at UW-Platteville. The governor said the upgrade will create a computer-technology hub featuring a 200-station general computer lab.


State Superintendent of Public Instruction Judy Catchpole announced in late April that 24 school districts were awarded federal grant dollars to improve their schools with the implementation of technology, notably in the areas of partnerships, staff development, curriculum integration, infrastructure and strategic planning.

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