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NJ Lawmaker Proposes Bill to Modernize Government Service

The recently proposed legislation would require an update of the state’s websites, implementation of modern customer service experiences and a transition from paper processes to more intuitive digital formats.

Closeup of a person using an iPad.
New Jersey state lawmakers are considering newly proposed legislation meant to enhance the delivery of government services.

Referred to as the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act, the legislation looks to update the state’s websites, implement modern customer service experiences and transition from paper processes to digital formats.

The bill would also authorize the state’s chief technology officer to request that agencies submit an information technology modernization and improvement plan.

Within the plan, agencies would be asked to share how they will improve digital services on all public-facing websites on mobile devices, increase the use of data analytics to improve website operation and enhance the delivery of digital services through the adoption of commercial cloud computing services.

It would also address agencies promoting intuitive and adaptive electronic forms, developing ways to utilize electronic signatures and digitizing government processes and workflows.

“Prior to becoming a legislator, I was a staffer and worked for Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera as the director of policy and communication,” said Assemblywoman Carol Murphy. “During that time, I started noticing how hard it was to use technology, especially when it came to the state.”

Because of that, Murphy explained, she started looking into the issue, prompting her to sponsor the bill.

“The bill itself provides the ability to evaluate all technology on the state level,” she said. It can’t control what the private sector does but, hopefully, they follow suit.”

An example of a technology-related issue the state is currently facing is residents having to wait a long time to receive unemployment benefits due to the large influx of claims submitted to the state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

“Personally,” Murphy said, “I’ve seen Katelyn, our constituent services representative, receive 368 unemployment claims in 2021, and probably 75 percent of those are still outstanding.”

Another tech-related issue is slow wait times for residents to renew their licenses on the state’s Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) website.

“The biggest issue we’ve seen is with state websites,” Murphy said. “The MVC required people to go online to do their registration and renew their licenses, and people were waiting forever.”

“We need an easy-to-use platform that people can access information from and other services, especially as we become more reliant on technology for important services like unemployment or license registration,” she added.

Government Technology reached out to the New Jersey Office of Information Technology; however, the office declined to comment on the pending legislation, which is set to be reintroduced during the new session.
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.