Beginning July 1, all new school employees who have unsupervised access to
children have to be fingerprinted and undergo nationwide criminal background checks under a newly signed law. The law includes those who work in public, private or church-run schools. USA Today
HB 209, signed by Gov. Tony Knowles, increases the size of smaller grants to which the Alaska Science and Technology Foundation must give at least half of its endowment income from $100,000 or less to $200,000 or less. The amount had not changed since 1988 and the change is intended to adjust for inflation.
The state Legislature is considering the Digital Education Act (S. 1029), which would provide for digital-education partnerships. It would expand Ready to Learn, a program of combined successful efforts in early childhood education; MATHLINE, a teacher-development program; and educational programming for children.
Act 1447, passed by the Arkansas General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Mike Huckabee, will create the College of Information Science & Systems Engineering at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock (UALR). Beginning in September 1999, UALR students can choose from two majors: information sciences or systems engineering. Students majoring in nontechnical degree programs can also pursue a minor in information technology.
The Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management's information services team has created a Web-based Emergency Management Information System, EMIS2, as an alternative method of disaster communication when conventional methods are overloaded. Western City
Colorado Counties Inc. is tracking state legislation that will help bring high-speed Internet connections to rural counties. The bill would create an incentive fund to pay for infrastructure improvements. County News
In an effort to catch child-support evaders, the state created a Web page of those "Wanted By Connecticut For Failure to Pay Child Support". The page features pictures and physical data of fathers who owe child support and a phone number for Web users to call with information.
The National Academy of Public Administration met in early June in Wilmington, where performance-based strategies were "put on trial." The "trial" did not follow strict court procedures, and resembled an active debate more than a formal presentation of a case.
Broward County's Purchasing Division has put the full text of all bids and related requests online. County News
Georgia's new automated purchasing system, developed by PeopleSoft, was to debut in July. Under the new vendor registration system, vendors will be able to submit changes electronically. The state was also hiring its first contract administration team, which will assume responsibilities previously carried out by buying staff. The five-person team will be responsible for writing policies and procedures for administering contracts.
Gov. Benjamin Cayetano signed HB 988, making an emergency appropriation for state government to implement Y2K compliance efforts. It provides $1 million for remediation.
The new dean of engineering at the University of Idaho will earn $7,000 more per year than the college's president, who supports the idea, saying it underscores the importance of technological studies.
Gov. George Ryan in May announced the creation of the state's Y2K Web page, which includes a monthly remediation-status report.
FBI Special Agent Russ Fox spoke to children and parents at Mt. Tabor Elementary's technology camp in New Albany in June, saying that home computers should be kept in common areas, and that parents should closely watch their children's Internet surfing to be alert for predators who try to lure children to meet them. USA TODAY
Legislation signed into law by Gov. Tom Vilsack earmarks $500,000 for the Division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning in the Department of Human Rights. Beginning in July, the division will use the funding to create a justice data warehouse for the state. The funding appropriated shall only be used for the lease of necessary computer equipment and related expenses for the justice data warehouse.
Sedgwick County's Purchasing Department has begun posting the full text of quotations and requests for proposals on its Web site.
Gov. Paul Patton announced at the end of May that Amazon.com has obtained two distribution facilities in Campbellsville and Lexington, with combined jobs reaching as many as 1,500 employees. Campbellsville officials anticipate that 500 people will be employed at the facility within a few months, and as many as 1,000 within two years. The Lexington facility will employ more than 200 people within a few months, and as many as 500 within two years.
The Office of Statewide Information Systems is expanding the Integrated Statewide Information Systems project. The state Department of Labor's payroll system will be converted to the new system, a massive undertaking.
The Maine Department of Education has a new School Food Service Reimbursement (SFSR) system. Client PCs need only an Internet connection and a basic Web browser to use the system, create "canned" reports on demand, view all documents filed via SFSR and file forms related to reimbursement for expenses incurred providing breakfast, lunch and milk to eligible students under the USDA School Nutrition Program.
A three-month project completed in spring mapped 700 road miles in Garret County, linking them to specific data such as the state's inspection reports database and police departments' daily accident reports.
The Massachusetts Criminal History Systems Board (CHSB) is replacing its criminal-history reporting with a fingerprint-supported records system to participate in the Interstate Identification Index (III). The CHSB has been working with the Massachusetts State Police Identification Section in preparing a readiness plan that will be submitted to the FBI this summer. The CHSB will deploy a new statewide Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) this fall.
As part of the centennial celebration of the Michigan Municipal League, the MML Foundation sponsored a two-day symposium in late June in Midland. The event examined the future of local government. Michigan Municipal Review
The state Department of Transportation is using computers to coordinate traffic signals and train passings in Moorhead to minimize delays caused by shortcomings in the physical infrastructure of the town's two (occasionally flooded) tracks.
Mississippi Secretary of State Eric Clark has made all 1999 campaign finance disclosure reports from state and legislative candidates available on the Internet. By accessing the Secretary of State's Web site , any person can view photo-imaged copies of each report filed by candidates for statewide, state district and legislative office in 1999.
The U.S. Department of Labor awarded the state a $6.24 million emergency grant to provide employment, training, and other services to Boeing employees slated for layoff. The Boeing Company will provide a 17,000-square-foot building to be used as a career center, and will provide the furniture, computers and telephones necessary to operate the facility.
In May, nearly 12,000 state employees received paychecks processed using new time, labor and payroll software. This was the culmination of 18 months of design and implementation effort on the part of the MT PRRIME Human Resources Team. Fewer than 50 errors were reported, representing 0.4 percent of the employees paid. Most of the errors were setup, conversion, or data-entry errors.
The President's Council on Y2K Conversion
and the National League of Cities held a meeting in Lincoln on Aug. 25 offering "straight talk" about Y2K conversion. Nation's Cities Weekly
A new Y2K-compliant human resource/ payroll system implemented in June to serve the 14,000 state employees replaced Nevada's decades-old accounting, payroll and financial systems within the Personnel Department, Controller's Office and Department of Transportation.
The Art Clemens Co. introduced a new Web site for water and wastewater agencies to sell surplus equipment. There's no fee to list items, which must sell for $500 or more.
Newark is the first New Jersey community to get new LED traffic lights expected to save money and energy. The project will trade more than 8,000 individual bulbs for the new LED lights at the 540 light-controlled intersections in Newark.
As part of the 16-state Western States Contracting Alliance (WSCA), New Mexico made a bold move toward centralized purchasing in June when it issued a request for proposal from computer equipment manufacturers that would give vendors a license to hunt across several states off a single RFP. Initially, this RFP is reckoned to be worth $15 million -- roughly equivalent to New Mexico's hardware budget -- but will rise as more states participate.
The state's Electronic Value Transfer Act authorizes state agencies to accept electronic payments, including credit and debit cards and automatic clearinghouse transactions for payments of license fees, registrations and taxes.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's computer science department has added two new graphics systems, from Silicon Graphics and PixelFlow, that one professor calls "perhaps the most powerful graphics computers inside any university department laboratory in the United States."
A free, Internet-security meeting was organized by the Bismarck School District and the Bismarck Police Department to help parents who want to know more about the Internet sites their children visit. Sessions were held at Smile Middle School's auditorium on June 1-3. Representatives from the police department, the school district's library media and technology offices talked about student security issues on the Internet. Bismarck Tribune
Ohio is falling behind other states in educating and retaining its best science and information technology workers, higher-education officials said. To help, state Sen. Grace Drake, R-Solon, wants to award loans up to $1,000 for students who enter a university program of statewide economic importance. The loans would be forgiven if the students work in Ohio for five years. USA Today
Students and adults planning a return to college this fall found answers to their career and financial-aid questions by logging on to an Internet chat session June 16. Sponsored by the Oklahoma Guaranteed Student Loan Program and other state guarantee agencies, the live chat session was available to anyone with Internet access. "The live chat provides a unique opportunity for participants to ask specific questions about college selection, career planning and financial aid," said Alice Strong-Simmons, state loan program executive director. The Daily Oklahoman
State Rep. Kevin Mannix, R-Salem , has introduced legislation to extend the state's already-implemented automated background check on handgun purchasers to include guns bought at any venue where more than 25 guns are sold, such as a gun show. The bill would also institute state background checks for rifles and other long guns, a function currently fulfilled by the FBI, and it would establish a system in which private sellers could call toll-free to check a person who wants to buy a gun. The Oregonian
Gov. Tom Ridge announced a plan to invest up to $13 million over three years to lure electronic-chip designers and
firms to the Pittsburgh region, with the intent of creating 1,500 high-tech jobs.
In the first stop of a five-month nationwide tour, a fleet of 28-foot trucks rolled into Warwick with the "Cable Internet Revolution Expo." Consumers saw how the cable industry is turning the Internet into a new medium, as entertaining as television, and more applicable to everyday living. The three-day Internet exposition included ongoing, hands-on demonstrations, allowing residents to get a first-hand look at how cable Internet products and services can change their lives.
When children took off this summer on "Book Trek," the state public library summer reading program, they were able to add to their adventure with a Web site sponsored by the South Carolina State Library. The 1999 summer reading Web site has links to sites for children, teens and parents with games, activities and projects reviewing the 20th century. More than 60,000 children annually participate in summer reading programs at public libraries statewide.
Two hours of block-by-block video footage of the damage caused by a tornado in Spencer were made available for videotaping by South Dakota Public Television (SDPTV) in the early morning hours of Saturday, June 5. Gov. Bill Janklow had a SDPTV camera crew videotape the damage 24 hours after the tornado hit Spencer so that the footage could be used for disaster declarations and insurance claims.
Feed The Children planned to install a donated video-surveillance system in an effort to prevent theft at its Nashville warehouse. The charity temporarily closed the 274,000-square-foot facility and fired all 14 employees in June after authorities found boxes of donations in the homes of several employees. USA Today
The Texas Legislature passed SB 560, which would grant the state's Public Utility Commission authority to make and enforce rules necessary to protect customers of telecommunications services consistent with the public interest. The commission will review the availability and pricing of telecommunications and information services, including cable services, wireless services and advanced telecommunications and information services, in rural and high cost areas, as well as the convergence of telecommunications services and report to the state Legislature.
The challenge of assembling an information technology system for the 2002
Winter Games became slightly more complicated with the sudden resignation of Pascal Wattiaux, technology director for the games. Wattiaux was immediately replaced by Philippe Verveer, the co-director of technology for the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, France. The position of technology director will be especially important, since longtime sponsor IBM declined to provide computer services for the games and the widening bribery scandal has scared away potential replacements. The Salt Lake Tribune
The Web Project co-sponsored a summer institute at Vermont College in Montpelier. In its fifth year, Making Connections provided an opportunity for a week of creativity and computer technology. Five classes will be offered: World Wide Web building, digital imaging, using digital video, computer animation, and music composition with MIDI technology.
The National Center for State Courts (NCSC), headquartered in Virginia, unveiled its new Education and Technology Center (Ed Tech) in April. The Ed Tech facility is a theater-style classroom fully wired to make use of digital video capture and editing, DVD and CD multimedia and computer and video projection on a large screen. The center will be used for workshops via satellite, point-to-point or multipoint video conferencing, and the Internet.
Washington's K-20 Educational Telecommunications Network collected its third top award from the telecommunications industry when it won the annual SUPERQuest award as the best Enterprise Access Network. The award, for outstanding achievement in the implementation of network technology, was presented at the SUPERCOMM '99 conference and exhibition in
Atlanta in June.
West Virginia's Information Technology Conference and Expo was held in late June. The event brought state agencies, local government, education, business and industry, economic development, legislators and IT professionals together to discuss, demonstrate and develop ideas for the role of technology in West Virginia. Training courses included Internet tactics; HTML; and making a Web site more attractive and interactive. Sessions offered included technology integration in education; electronic commerce; future of IT: 2005; and virtual reality.
Gov. Tommy G. Thompson announced the approval of $214,500 for a University of Wisconsin-Madison satellite-tracking tower. The project will build a 40-foot tower to support a satellite-tracking antenna on the roof of the Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Science Building. The antenna will gather data from two NASA satellites.
The Wyoming Corps of Engineers and the state signed a memorandum of understanding for data sharing. Under the agreement, the two agencies can get away from using their own coffers to fund separate projects and now can pool their resources.