The National Technology Snapshot

A round-up of information technology news and events from each of the 50 states.

by / March 31, 1999
Alabama The University of Alabama, University of Alabama at Birmingham and University of Alabama in Huntsville have an agreement with ITC DeltaCOM to provide high-speed, high-bandwidth network connections to Internet2.

Alaska Four of the state's telecommunications carriers -- ATU, ATU Long Distance, Internet Alaska and Alaska Fiber Star-- announced they are forming a consortium to bring asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) facilities to phone users throughout Alaska. According to consortium members, ADSL services is expected to be substantially less expensive than local cable modem charges.

Arizona Gov. Jane Dee Hull and the state Department of Transportation launched a "Renew at Home" campaign to encourage more people to renew their vehicle registrations by mail, phone or the Internet to shorten motor vehicle department lines. Vehicle registrations can be renewed by calling 888/713-3031 or online.

Arkansas Information Network of Arkansas launched its latest premium service, "Lobbyist-in-a-Box," for anyone who needs timely information during the 1999 General Assembly. It cost $200 per session for unlimited access..

California Sacramento County spent the winter moving closer to completing a new back-office system for accounting and payroll. The financial portion was implemented July 1 last year, with the payroll portion online Jan. 1 and the utility billing application for garbage and sewer online in March.

Colorado Former Gov. Roy Romer was re-elected to the Western Governors University board. Romer, who helped found the online institution nearly three years ago, previously was co-chairman. Governors Tony Knowles of Alaska and Gary Locke of Washington have been elected to the university's Board of Trustees.

Connecticut The Web site for the state's Department of Administrative Services was restructured so the site can be a platform for transacting business. Electronic commerce and state surplus programs have been implemented through the Internet.

Delaware According to the state Department of Transportation, most of Delaware's traffic lights should be fully Y2K-compliant on Jan. 1, 2000.

Florida Orlando Technology Management Director Frank Hagy recently became president of the Florida Local Government Information Systems Association, which is affiliated with the Florida League of Cities. More information is available online.

Georgia A statewide property database has made title searches easier. The database containing an index of all property transactions was developed by the Economic Development Institute at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The index can be searched for free at county courthouses or by subscription on the Internet. Nation's Cities Weekly

Hawaii Gov. Benjamin J. Cayetano, in his State of the State address, called for a five-year tax holiday for high-tech companies in Kakaako High Tech park.

Idaho To facilitate the employment process for both employers and students, the Boise State University Student Employment Office has placed its job listings online. It provides students unlimited access to job listing and employer information.

Illinois State legislators approved a bill that would extend the deadline for new emergency telephone regulations until June 2000. The rules require businesses to equip their phones with technology that provide 911 emergency operators with more information on the origin of the call.

Indiana The Bureau of Motor Vehicles Rapid Renewal System, a site maintained by the Access Indiana Information Network, allows users to renew their vehicle registrations online.

Iowa The 600th video site was connected to the Iowa Communication Network (ICN). As a full-motion interactive site, ICN offers residents locations close to home to obtain educational, state government, telemedicine and statewide library services.

Kansas The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services Web site provides information about department office locations, services, press releases and other agency information. The department receives mail daily from people and other government agencies throughout Kansas and the nation.

Kentucky The Kentucky State Police awarded contracts valued at approximately $6 million to Printrak International Inc. for additional livescan fingerprint-capture stations and upgrades to an automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS). The purchases were funded by Gov. Paul Patton's 1998 Crime Bill package, enacted by the Kentucky Legislature.

Louisiana In an effort to deliver distance learning online, Tulane University selected White Pine's Class Point software, which enables distance learning and collaboration among its graduate students. The Center for Applied Environmental Public Health, a division of the Tulane Medical Center, will offer graduate students in the Occupational Safety & Health Management program the opportunity to earn their two-year degree solely via distance learning.

Maine Most Maine employers now have the option of filing their Employer's Combined Quarterly Report (CQR) over the Internet, eliminating paper forms. The CQR, a joint project of the Maine Department of Labor and Maine Revenue Services, combines state income tax withholdings and unemployment contributions on a single tax return. CQR Online is Maine's first venture into Internet filing of tax returns.

Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening's inaugural speech Jan. 20 and his State of the State address were broadcast on the Web, allowing people worldwide to see the governor set forth his administration's agenda for the 1999 Legislative Session and his four-year term. Both speeches were also televised live statewide on Maryland Public Television.

Massachusetts The Chelmsford public school system received a donation of high-speed Internet equipment from Cisco. It's part of Chelmsford's "I-Net" plan, an aggressive technology initiative to link Chelmford's schools, police stations, libraries, town offices and other municipal facilities to the Internet.

Michigan Gov. John Engler announced that Michigan had been awarded $10.6 million in discounts and funding commitments for improving telecommunications services and Internet access in schools and libraries across the state. This award or "E-rate" from the Federal Schools and Libraries Universal Service Fund is a result of the combined efforts of state and local government and local schools and libraries pursuing innovative measures to make technology improvements more affordable.

Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura's inauguration ceremony was broadcast live over the Internet and viewed by 16,825 people worldwide. The event was the state's first live Internet broadcast. The governor said he planned to Webcast other speeches.

Mississippi Connect-2-Tomorrow, using a 1997 Telecommunication and Information Infrastructure Assistance Program (TIIPA) grant awarded to Mississippi Department of Education, was developed to allow Internet access into isolation rooms at the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children, a wing of the University of Mississippi Medical Center. The system's in-house school program provides continuity in education for children who are chronically ill or have debilitating illnesses. Hospital staff and patients are trained to use e-mail and the Internet. The Connect-2-Tommorrow program is an offshoot of Connecting Communities: The Mississippi Family Math and Science Network Project.

Missouri Missouri residents can now file their state 1998 income tax return electronically using TurboTax State software. Information flows directly from the federal version of TurboTax to TurboTax State, allowing residents to easily and quickly prepare their taxes.

Montana Aiding in the expansion and upgrade of the Montana State Lottery will be Telenetics Corp.'s modems, selected by Autotote Lottery Corp. The initial contract calls for about 400 modems.

Nebraska The state Department of Economic Development's Web site is providing a Toolkit for Startup & Existing Businesses in Nebraska. The site gives businesses valuable information on start-up, business financing, federal laws and regulation, tax info, directories, employment, intellectual property, international trade, etc.

Nevada The Reno Police Department selected Solid Earth's Megan's Mapper community-notification technology for use by its Sex Offenders Unit. The system tracks released sex offenders and notifies resident of their presence in a neighborhood.

New Hampshire New England competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) HarvardNet Inc. announced that it has received authorization to operate as a CLEC in New Hampshire. The company is also authorized to operate as a CLEC in Massachusetts, and has applications pending in Rhode Island and Maine.

New Jersey The Jellybean Junction preschool in Iselin has brought the KinderView Network into its center. Using the network, parents can log in through the Internet browser on their desktop computers for a window into the classroom. Cameras are installed in the corner of each room. Parents are given a school code and then select a secure login name and password with which to view their children during the day.

New Mexico Public Service Company of New Mexico, a combined electric and gas utility serving 1.3 million people, will replace two mainframe systems that separately handled electric and gas accounts with the Banner client-server system. More than 360,000 and 410,000 gas accounts were merged into Banner's customer database.

New York Gov. George Pataki proposed legislation to expand the circumstances under which DNA samples could be taken to include all those convicted of a felony or attempted felony. Chicago Tribune

North Carolina To make its highways and roads safer, state Transportation Secretary Norris Tolson said his department is shopping for devices that can detect faulty brakes on trucks as they roll down the road. One system the department has tested is a $270,000 unit that could be set up at truck weigh stations. State officials are also evaluating a cheaper, hand-held system that some police agencies use for drug-detection and rescue missions.

North Dakota The state Department of Transportation has equipped every highway district with a road weather information system (RWIS) to overcome problems with snow and ice. Data collected by the weather and pavement sensors is then incorporated into RWIS, allowing the department to evaluate conditions and send crews where they are most needed.

Ohio Columbus Mayor Greg Lashutka, who assembled the Mayor's Task Force on Technology and the Future of the City, announced he will not seek re-election for a third term in office. Nation's Cities Weekly

Oklahoma See featured item.

Oregon Yamhill County will be using Systems Consultants Inc. and Unisys Corporation client/server-based financial software to give officials better management and reporting capabilities, improved access to financial information and decentralized accounting and business functions.

Pennsylvania The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has taken first place in a competition among Internet sites created by Pennsylvania agencies. The state home page draws more than 11 million hits a month, in line with Gov. Tom Ridge's continuous promotion of growth of information services and technology.

Rhode Island Burrillville's 23 officers will soon be equipped with technologies that allow officers to process fingerprint and background checks from their patrol cars. The system also provides a secure message system that alerts officers to crimes without tipping off criminals who carry scanners. The system is part of a $60,000 grant from the Justice Department. Providence Journal

South Carolina In an effort to improve operations and provide better customer service, the motor vehicles division began a five-year plan to upgrade its technology, processes and infrastructure.

South Dakota A national video conference about the E-rate program was rebroadcast twice on South Dakota Public Television. E-rate provides a discount of 20 percent to 90 percent on telecommunication services, Internet access and internal connections for eligible schools and libraries.

Tennessee First Tennessee announced an agreement with Intuit to offer WebTurboTax to its customers through First Tennessee's Web site, allowing easy access to the Web-based version of the popular TurboTax personal tax-preparation software program.

Texas The Dallas suburb of Mesquit selected Printrak International Inc. to integrate a new computer aided dispatch system with a records management system. These systems are to be shared by police, fire and emergency medical services.

Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, in his State of the State address in January, said, "By the time the world comes here to visit in 2002 [for the Olympics], I propose we have in place the foundation for a truly 'digital' state, including the ability to deliver high-speed, high-capacity 'webtone' to every home, school, and business in this state. Webtone ... is quick, immediate, high-speed access to the World Wide Web, and soon it will be as commonplace and as easy as picking up a telephone and hearing dial tone. It works at speeds 100 times faster than we have today."

Vermont announced the launch of WebDorm, the first and only interactive live glimpse into the lives of college students. Beginning Feb. 1 college students from the University of Vermont could participate in the first WebDorm by placing live Web cameras in their rooms. Other participants are at the State University of New York at Albany and Connecticut's Trinity College.

Virginia The Shore Memorial Hospital of Virginia will replace its Y2K-noncompliant system with Compucare's Affinity health-care information system. The Affinity system is Web-enabled, providing users with online access to information .

Washington Olympic Peninsula residents had the chance to push their views on the possible reintroduction of the gray wolf, using buttons on electronic voting devices at town meetings in Shelton, Hoquiam and Forks in January. Officials at Elway Research of Seattle crafted a unique public involvement approach, conducting town meetings for the Olympic Natural Resources Center in Forks, in cooperation with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland.

West Virginia Despite educating just 124 students, Pruntytown Elementary School now houses a computer lab that can accommodate 24 children at one time. In addition to the new lab, the school plans to install more advanced software in the computers in the third- and fourth-grade classrooms to allow older students additional computer time.

Wisconsin Lawmakers from three rural regions of Wisconsin say their schools and libraries are getting absolutely no money from the state's $6 million computer technology and training fund. Overall, 188 of the state's 426 school districts, about 44 percent, received no money at all. The representatives of those areas are demanding that the state give money for technology improvements.

Wyoming Gov. Jim Geringer declared Feb. 4 Electronic Technologies Day at the State Capitol. "Electricity is increasingly being hailed as the sensible energy choice of the future, because of its natural efficiency, centralized production and careful regulations," Geringer noted in his proclamation.

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