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Texas Legacy Systems to See $900M in Modernization Funds

Recently signed legislation will ramp up the state’s cybersecurity and legacy system upgrades through the newly created Technology Improvement and Modernization Fund. The new law takes effect Sept. 1.

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On Sept. 1, the Texas law that creates a Technology Improvement and Modernization Fund to improve state agency information resources will take effect, impacting state cybersecurity and legacy system projects.

The fund is part of a larger effort, including 27 Texas agencies asking the state’s Legislature to allocate $898.6 million to address cybersecurity and legacy system risks outlined in the state’s 2020 Prioritized Cybersecurity and Legacy Systems (PCLS) report.

According to Enterprise Solution Services Director Krishna Edathil, the $898.6 million will cover 59 different projects.

“Several agencies submitted modernization projects of larger applications which impacted the overall request,” Edathil previously told Government Technology.

“As this is the third report, many agencies engaged early and had teams allocated to work on developing their projects,” he added. “The growth seems to align with the ongoing agency prioritization of modernization and cybersecurity.”

In terms of the Technology Improvement and Modernization Fund, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-98, said, “federal funds becoming available in the last year along with Texas’ economic growth and tech businesses moving to the state makes it the right time to do this.”

As for why this hasn’t been done before, Capriglione said, “modernizing tech and improving cyber defense has been an issue for Texas and other states for a long time. It has become clearer every day the dangers of not upgrading security. Because of this, we have prioritized these issues to keep constituents’ information safe.”

“We have various mainframes in Texas running critical pieces of software that have been around since the ’60s and ’70s,” he said. “It’s ridiculous and completely insecure. These systems are inefficient and require specialized support services to keep them running, so what we’ve been trying to do is modernize these systems.”

However, Capriglione said, it’s too early to tell when these changes will take place due to federal funds not being dispersed yet.

“We just got our estimate of new money right now, so it’s a little too early to put money in,” he said. “I do think it will happen relatively soon, though. Once that happens, we will start having conversations with agencies to find out what resources they need.”

As for money being put into the fund, the bill states gifts, donations and grants, including federal grants, will be added along with interest earned on the investment of money. The state Legislature will oversee these funds, including all transfers and deposits.

Texas CIO Amanda Crawford declined to comment on this story.
Katya Maruri is a staff writer for Government Technology. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in global strategic communications from Florida International University, and more than five years of experience in the print and digital news industry.