Jason Murphey admits the state’s Government Modernization Committee was viewed as “kind of gimmicky” when it was created in 2009. But that’s not the case anymore. As chairman, he’s turned the body — better known as the Gov Mod Committee — into a magnet for innovative young lawmakers and a forum for IT-powered government reforms.

Murphey, a 36-year-old software developer, has shepherded a number of IT-related bills through the legislative process, including measures to create a cabinet-level CIO and consolidate state computer systems. Those moves were set to save more than $120 million by late 2013, according to the state. The committee also has tackled measures to improve state software purchasing, promote electronic payments, and simplify business licensing and permitting.

In a 2013 interview, Murphey said legislative turnover — led partly by term limits enacted in 1990 — is driving a shift in how state elected leaders view technology issues and his committee. “We’re seeing the age of the legislature getting younger and younger,” he said. “And those members have an extreme proclivity toward this venue.”

With Oklahoma’s newly centralized IT structure making it easier to enact statewide technology reforms, Murphey said the Gov Mod Committee was just getting warmed up.

“We’re going to be introspective on how we can use technology to cut the cost to the taxpayer and improve efficiency,” he said. “We’ll also spend a lot of time looking at transparency issues. We want to empower citizens to hold government accountable using data 2.0 concepts.”

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Steve Towns, Editor Steve Towns  |  Editor

Steve Towns is editor of Government Technology, and executive editor for e.Republic Inc., publisher of GOVERNING, Government TechnologyPublic CIO and Emergency Management magazines. He has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience at newspapers and magazines, including more than 15 years of covering technology in the state and local government market.