2016 State of the State Addresses: Does Technology Matter?

Government Technology’s editorial team analyzes this year’s speeches to see which governors are talking tech.

Click on each state for insight into the technology initiatives mentioned and our thoughts on how they did based on a rating scale of 0 to 5, with 0 being no technology mentions and 5 representing extensive technology plans. The more color you see, the more technology mentions were made in a governor's address.

 

2016 State of the State Analysis

 

Alabama
Star rating:
Speech date: February 2, 2016
To sum it up:
Gov. Robert Bentley’s Feb. 2 speech began with addressing the state’s aviation history and future: The Saturn V rocket, designed to fly astronauts to the moon and back, was engineered in Alabama, and this year the first Alabama-made Airbus jetliners will be produced at the company's $600 million plant in Mobile. With new industries moving to the state — Google is opening a $600 million call center in Jackson County — the unemployment rate is likely to continue to decrease, with Bentley saying that 52,000 jobs were added in Alabama last year. The governor called on technology as part of the Great State 2019 Plan, which aims to educate and train people while addressing long-term problems like health care and prison reform. “Essential to economic growth, job creation and the overall quality of life in Alabama is access to technology for all our citizens,” said Bentley, adding that more than 1 million residents currently do not have access to basic wireless technology. He said the state will work to provide the infrastructure that broadband requires. “Private providers will then be able to provide access and offer it at a more affordable and manageable cost to our communities.” Access to broadband will be key to many of the themes he addressed in the speech — strengthening the education system, increased capabilities for health care and opportunities for economic development.
Read the governor's address here


Alaska
Star rating:
Speech date: January 21, 2016
To sum it up: Gov. Bill Walker spent the majority of his Jan. 21 speech discussing Alaska’s multibillion-dollar budget deficit and laying out his financial reform plan. While technology was not addressed as a part of this plan, Government Technology spoke with CIO Jim Bates last year who said Alaska’s tight budget could make the cloud an inevitable part of the state’s future. Walker did say the state is implementing a shared services concept to reduce the number of employees who do similar tasks in different departments, which presumably may impact the IT workforce. Direct technology references included an effort to modernize the state’s voter registration system. Online voter registration became available on Nov. 24, with nearly 1,000 residents using the system so far. In addition, as the state diversifies its economy, Walker said there’s an opportunity to be a leader in renewable energy and emerging energy technologies. “With our abundant wind, geothermal, tidal and yes, even solar resources, we are uniquely suited to test, develop and deploy these technologies,” he said. 
Read the governor's address here


Arizona
Star rating:
Speech date: January 11, 2016
To sum it up: Technology played a big role in Gov. Doug Ducey’s second State of the State address on Jan. 11. Ducey announced that moments before taking the stage, he signed an executive order creating the Governor’s Council on the Sharing Economy with the goal to “stop shackling innovation.” “Arizona should be to the sharing economy, what Texas is to oil and what Silicon Valley used to be to the tech industry,” Ducey said. In 2015, the state entered the 21st century, he said, citing examples including allowing inventors at TechShop in Chandler, a community-based workshop and prototyping studio,  greater freedom to crowdfund, and ending sting operations against ridesharing. Ducey also called on Phoenix to lift regulations that keep rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft from transporting people to and from Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. He addressed “deadbeat dads,” saying that the state will post the names, photos and money owed by these individuals to social media using the hashtag “deadbeat.” (There was also a reference to people calling him the “hashtag governor.”) On the topic of health care, Ducey said that 75 percent of heroin addicts used prescription drugs first. Using a voluntary online database, the state found that hundreds of residents were receiving prescriptions for highly addictive drugs from multiple doctors at the same time. “Imagine how many more people we could help with a requirement that doctors use that database.” In a brief mention of the Arizona Commerce Authority, Ducey said, “It’s time for ACA 2.0, with a renewed focus on marketing and promotion.” If passed, HB2666 will establish the Governor’s Economic Opportunity Office, which is envisioned as a one-stop shop to encourage economic development and job growth. According to the state, ACA 2.0 will leverage data and analytics to help meet these goals.
Read the governor's address here


Arkansas
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson did not give a State of the State address in 2016.


California
Star rating:
Speech date: January 21, 2016
To sum it up: California Gov. Jerry Brown said in his State of the State address that he would not concentrate on new initiatives, but rather on meeting the commitments already made by state leaders. He touched on the financial uncertainty facing the state and the recession's impacts on the state economy. Income inequality also made the governor’s shortlist along with the state’s health-care system, Covered California, and education. He gave nod to the fact that globalization and technological changes through software, robotics and global communications are shifting wage dynamics in the state. According to Brown, spending on education has increased 51 percent since 2011. When it came to water, Brown urged action to ensure water security in the future. He pointed to technology, like desalinization, as a potential solution to water supply problems. The governor closed with emphasis on worsening climate change and the need to “decarbonize” the economy.
Read the governor's address here


Colorado
Star rating:
Speech date: January 21, 2016
To sum it up: In typical Hickenlooper fashion, the Colorado governor stuck to his lighthearted and upbeat demeanor in his speech. Quoting Taylor Swift, giving a shout-out to cat videos, calling state Supreme Court Justices "The Supremes" and making a brief mention of a DeLorean time machine, the governor laid out an optimistic vision for 2016 while outlining progress made in the past year. As far as technology goes, Hickenlooper lauded his state for its leading reputation as a cybersecurity hub, combining academics, industry leaders and military personnel in the new National Cybersecurity Intelligence Center in Colorado Springs, which he said can "provide real-time response capability for businesses to detect, prevent, remediate and recover from threats and hacks.” Cybersecurity preparedness is expected to be one of the top trends in state initiatives in the upcoming year. The Main Street Improvement initiative, which proposes to improve broadband speeds for all Coloradans, was also mentioned in the address. The Centennial State ranks in the bottom half of Internet connection speeds and with economic development increasingly dependent on a high-speed Internet connection, allowing access to all can contribute to a healthier state economy.
Read the governor's address here


Connecticut
Star rating:
Speech date: February 4, 2016
To sum it up: Gov. Dannel Malloy’s speech focused on the state’s “new economic reality,” and he outlined five budget principles for going forward. One of those principles, holding state agencies accountable for their results, included one of Malloy’s few tech-related mentions. “The bill I submit to you today will require agencies to post online detailed, meaningful, timely information about how they are spending the people's money, and precisely what that money is accomplishing,” he said. In addition to making agency budgets more transparent, he outlined prioritizing funding for core services like justice and public education. While not directly mentioned, technology is likely to help streamline those core services and continue to bring them into the 21st century. As we reported in late 2014, an IT investment fund created in 2011 is pumping money into new systems, replacing technology that had become dangerously outdated. In addition, Malloy mentioned that new technologies are changing how businesses operate and that the University of Connecticut is helping to meet the demand for tech and manufacturing jobs in the state.
Read the governor's address here


Delaware
Star rating:
Speech date: January 21, 2016
To sum it up: On Jan. 21, Gov. Jack Markell delivered his eighth State of the State address, reflecting on how far Delaware has come. Specifically, he cited a balanced budget, and reductions in both the unemployment and recidivism rates. He called attention to the state’s TechHire initiative — which will expand with a new coding program at Delaware Tech — and pointed to a success story in which one resident completed an intense 12-week computer coding course through a program created as part of this initiative and landed an IT job that nearly tripled her salary. Her story, Markell said, “symbolizes the progress that’s possible when we raise expectations.” A special focus also is being placed on the state’s growing IT sector, most notably in terms of education and job training. In the last two years, Markell said, the number of high school students studying computer programming has grown from about 80 to 560 — and the goal is to have 1,000 students by September. The governor’s theme of “expecting more” surfaced consistently throughout the address, not only in workforce training, education, health care and safe communities, but also a more responsive government and making Delaware an affordable, welcoming place to do business. In this vein, the state has invested in broadband and increased access to capital for startups. And in his address, Markell called on the General Assembly to pass legislation that helps citizens use crowdfunding to its full potential so they can help and invest in Delaware businesses.
Read the governor's address here


Florida
Star rating:
Speech date: January 12, 2016
To sum it up: Florida Gov. Rick Scott delivered one of the nation’s first addresses on Jan. 12, with a heavy focus on job creation. In his five years in office, Scott boasted of 1 million new jobs created. A $250 million Florida Enterprise Fund was proposed to funnel some of the state’s record revenues toward incentivizing the growth of small business and diversifying the economy. Held up as an example of a previous Enterprise Fund success story was 1st Choice Aerospace, which recently decided to expand in Miramar, Fla., rather than its home state of Kentucky. In tandem, Scott announced a $1 billion package of tax cuts aimed at manufacturers and entrepreneurs. Scott’s address did not include any specific mention of technology projects on the horizon that could impact the duties of CIO Jason Allison, named the state’s permanent CIO in December 2014.
Read the governor's address here


Georgia
Star rating:
Speech date: January 13, 2016
To sum it up: In an address laden with sailing analogies, Gov. Nathan Deal spoke about the state’s recovery from the financial recession and the bolstering of the rainy day fund, which now sits at $1.43 billion. Unemployment in the state stands at a low 4 percent and jobs training through technical colleges and universities is expected to begin closing the jobs skills gap. Georgia Southern University is one of the only universities in the country offering a degree program in precision engineering, according to Deal. The governor also addressed the need to modernize the state’s education systems in line with new technologies like cellphones, computers, television and automobiles to better prepare students for the 21st century. “If it is not, our children will stumble and fall when they step onto the escalator of life outside the schoolhouse door,” he said.  Deal also pointed to growing Medicaid costs and the need to head off the rising costs of entitlements. The passage of the Transportation Funding Act of 2015, House Bill 170, and the plan to use 60 percent of user fees over the next 18 months for sustainable infrastructure improvement were also addressed by Deal.
Read the governor's address here


Hawaii
Star rating:
Speech date: January 25, 2016
To sum it up: After a full year into his governorship, David Ige delivered his second State of the State address, covering topics from education infrastructure improvement programs to the need for accessible health care in rural areas. Ige mentioned the need for a suitable environment conducive to providing education for the next generation, including mandatory air conditioning for classrooms and the installation of smart meters to control energy use. Energy efficiency is a major priority for the state, as the Legislature recently passed a commitment to using 100 percent clean energy. The governor delved deepest into technology when discussing the up and coming “Innovation Economy.” Hawaii has typically scored toward the bottom on broadband speeds, and that's why Ige is attempting to bolster Internet access to more effectively engage in the new economy. Along with improving Internet connectivity, the state will partner with the University of Hawaii in creating a $30 million accelerator fund to spur entrepreneurs.
Read the governor's address here


Idaho
Star rating:
Speech date: January 11, 2016
To sum it up: A popular topic in 2016 State of the State addresses nationwide also was called out as a priority in Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s Jan. 11 address — education. For Otter, this includes making responsible, sustainable and data-driven investments in Idaho’s K-through-career education system, and insisting on transparency and robust local accountability. And because tech is increasingly necessary in 21st-century classroom success, Otter recommended a continued investment in devices, teacher training and software “to make the most of the opportunities that technology affords.” He also spoke of his participation in the Hour of Code event, and the connections being built between “K-12” and “career,” like the STEM Action Center that launched in July — for which Otter recommends allotting $2 million in ongoing operating funds along with $10 million in one-time funds for starting up STEM programs. Otter also noted that his budget recommendation includes $3.8 million to address training backlogs and the workforce shortage in high-tech and industrial manufacturing fields. Through a collaboration among state, education and private-sector partners, new online resources — like the college and career website NextSteps.Idaho.gov and the construction trades portal WeBuildIdaho.org — are available to begin achieving goals in this area. Another collaboration Otter discussed was a $1 million budget request to establish a cybersecurity program at Boise State University in partnership with the Idaho National Laboratory. This program would help efforts that the Idaho Cyber Security Task Force, created in 2015, are tackling, such as developing responses to hackers who exploit state computer systems and educating people about “how to fight this global tool of crime and terror.” Otter also announced that the Idaho Air National Guard was recently designated as one of 13 “cyber units” nationwide, which means that this Idaho Cyber Operations Squadron will help detect and stop online attacks before they cause damage. “It’s encouraging,” Otter said, “that we are tackling this modern threat with such unity of purpose.”
Read the governor's address here


Illinois
Star rating:
Speech date: January 27, 2016
To sum it up: Though the tech highlight of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s second State of the State address, held Jan. 27, was near the end of his speech, he was forthright about the status and quality of IT in the state — and where he intends for it to go. “We are a model of inefficiency and ineffectiveness,” he said, noting that Illinois ranks among the three highest states for IT spending, but is one of the worst states for digital services delivered to the public. “Too many of our agencies’ systems can't communicate with each other; they are vulnerable to cyberattacks and are extremely expensive to maintain.” Illinois, Rauner said, needs a digital revolution — something he’s begun to usher in by announcing on Jan. 25 the consolidated Department of Innovation and Technology. Led by CIO Hardik Bhatt, the department will allow the state to consolidate, modernize and streamline IT systems, better serve taxpayers and businesses, and foster innovation among employees. Minor tech tidbits also were sprinkled throughout Rauner’s address, such as the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) now producing better outcomes for children while saving taxpayer money following a report released late last year that noted severe failures and called for the agency to reboot its evidence-based initiatives that have fallen to the wayside, according to the Chicago Tribune. Real-time data, the report said, should be collected and rigorously evaluated. At that time, a team at the agency was working to create a real-time data system that would track 26 metrics. Alongside the DCFS overhaul, Rauner said, is a complete transformation of the way the state provides health and human services, including placing emphasis on evidence-based and data-driven decision-making.
Read the governor's address here


Indiana
Star rating: Zero
Speech date: January 12, 2016
To sum it up: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, along with former CIO Paul Baltzell and former Office of Management and Budget Director Chris Atkins, were Government Technology Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers in 2015 due to their commitment to data-driven solutions, particularly in lowering infant mortality rates. This year, however, Pence's speech steered clear of technology and instead focused on broad initiatives, laying out plans for advancing both education and infrastructure projects. In 2015, Hoosiers invested $1 billion in nearly 400 transportation projects improving interstate highways to keep Indiana productive for years to come. The state was also able to allocate $50 million in new funding to schools for career readiness programs. He could not avoid addressing the elephant in the room, the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which received widespread criticism this summer. Pence added provisions to the bill to protect against discrimination and promised to work with groups on all sides of the issue to improve the legislation.
Read the governor's address here


Iowa
Star rating:
Speech date: January 12, 2016
To sum it up: Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad touched on a number of topics in his State of the State address, but technology was not a substantial portion of his remarks. He mentioned the state’s unemployment numbers — 3.4 percent — that family incomes have increased and that Iowa’s reserve and emergency coffers are full, while pointing to increasing Medicaid costs as a potential threat to Iowa’s financial health. The governor also mentioned the push to better educate students for the 21st century through STEM programs in high schools by offering at least one high-quality computer science course by 2018-19. The effort would also give middle school students the opportunity to take an exploratory unit on computer coding. Iowa’s renewable energy efforts were also addressed by the governor. Since he signed legislation in 1983 (during his first term as governor), the state has made advancements in biodiesel and electric power generation — wind accounts for 30 percent of the state’s electricity generation and solar continues to grow in popularity. The governor also addressed plans to move forward with criminal justice reform and funding for schools throughout the state.
Read the governor's address here


Kansas
Star rating: Zero
Speech date: January 12, 2016
To sum it up: Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s speech on Jan. 12 did not address any technology initiatives in the state, but a couple of the themes mentioned have tech components at their core. For example, Brownback said that when he took office in 2011, he asked the lieutenant governor to modernize the state’s Medicaid program. “Today, we have higher reimbursement rates for providers, more services for clients and, most importantly, we have better, measurable health outcomes for Kansans who participate in KanCare,” he said. The state’s new Medicaid enrollment system went live in 2014. Brownback also mentioned the need to improve health-care delivery in rural parts of the state, asking to see a proposal for how to do so by next January. Access to high-speed broadband to allow for telemedicine and other health-related programs could presumably be a key player in this plan.
Read the governor's address here


Kentucky
Star rating:
Speech date: January 26, 2016
To sum it up: Gov. Matt Bevin’s first State of the Commonwealth Budget Address focused mostly on getting Kentucky back on solid financial footing. Bevin introduced what he called a “sober budget” and vowed not to sign any legislation or budget that would defer obligations to younger generations. The only technology-focused part of the speech centered on the state's health insurance exchange. Bevin said Kynect will be shut down and deferred to the federal health-care coverage system to avoid costly redundancies. Critics, however, are questioning why one of the nation's most successful portals should be shut down when some estimates place the shutdown cost at $23 million. Bevin also addressed investing more in infrastructure, specifically fixing the state’s aging roads and bridges. Presumably that investment may also include broadband — last year Kentucky leadership announced plans to roll out statewide broadband Internet service as part of a three-year public-private partnership. In addition, Bevin would like to see the state excel in manufacturing and jobs growth through skills training and education. The governor identified current state debt, pension obligations and increasing Medicaid costs as among the state's most significant financial challenges.
Read the governor's address here


Louisiana
Star rating: Zero
Speech date: February 12, 2016
To sum it up: Louisiana’s new governor, John Edwards, spent his first State of the State speech on Feb. 11 addressing the $940 million budget deficit, which he called the largest in state history. “This is not the challenge I imagined I would face one month after becoming your governor, but this is the crisis before us and we must solve it,” he said. After outlining how his proposed budget cuts would likely impact health care and education, Edwards said there will be a hiring freeze across state government and a reduction in state contracts. While technology was not directly mentioned during the speech, these changes are likely to impact all of Louisiana’s departments. The state has already consolidated its executive branch cabinet agencies under a single IT organization to control costs. “Given the cost of technology, if you’re not looking at consolidation, you are behind the curve of controlling expenses,” CIO Dickie Howze told Government Technology last year.
Read the governor's address here


Maine
Star rating: Zero
To sum it up: In 2016, Maine Gov. Paul LePage declined to deliver a traditional State of the State address, opting instead to send a written letter to the Legislature — a letter that calls on the state's residents to find their legislators, whom he refers to as “socialists,” and hold them responsible for change. “If you want lower taxes, more welfare reform, reduced energy costs, affordable student debt and a get-tough approach to the drug crisis, Mainers must contact their elected officials and hold them accountable,” he wrote, after detailing each of the issues along with a broad overview of what must change. Not only did LePage fail to announce any new policy priorities, but he also didn't mention anything technology-, cybersecurity- or innovation-related.
Read the governor's address here


Maryland
Star rating: Zero
Speech date: February 3, 2016
To sum it up: Gov. Larry Hogan faced a unique set of challenges over the past year — not the least of which were the riots and negative attention associated with the death of Freddie Gray while in the custody of Baltimore police in April and a diagnosis of non-Hodgkins lymphoma just five months after he assumed office. (As of November 2015, the disease had gone into remission.) Hogan’s was a message of economic conservatism, peppered with references to reducing the tax burden of Marylanders and eliminating fees across state government. The address had no direct references to technology, although Hogan did point to notable employers like Northrop Grumman and Amazon making additional investments in the state, contributing to the business-friendly climate he vowed to continue to pursue.
Read the governor's address here


Massachusetts
Star rating:
Speech date: January 21, 2016
To sum it up: Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker delivered his first State of the State address on Jan. 21 (Baker assumed office in January 2015, and did not deliver a speech that year), detailing some of his early challenges, which included a $765 million budget deficit and serious havoc wreaked on the state’s transit system by the 2015 winter superstorm Snowmageddon. Baker seized the opportunity to celebrate the recovery of the state’s notorious Health Connector insurance exchange, a source of frustration for countless citizens who couldn’t get through in years past. “For more than two years, getting and keeping health insurance had been a complete disaster for hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts’ citizens,” he said, noting that in excess of 1 million people were deemed eligible for MassHealth during open enrollment this year. Citing Massachusetts’ reputation for innovation, the governor also cheered a recent decision from General Electric to relocate its headquarters from suburban Connecticut to Boston.
Read the governor's address here


Michigan
Star rating:
Speech date: January 19, 2016
To sum it up: Gov. Rick Snyder spent about half of his Jan. 19 State of the State speech discussing the water crisis in Flint. “I’m sorry, and I will fix it,” Snyder said, before providing a timeline of the events and response to the city’s contaminated water. He also committed to publicly releasing his 2014 and 2015 emails related to Flint. The city’s water crisis has received attention from government’s highest levels — President Obama signed an emergency declaration, making $5 million in federal assistance available. Snyder went on to say “we have a statewide infrastructure challenge” and called for the creation of the Commission for Building 21st Century Infrastructure to develop a plan for investments in areas like water, sewer, transportation and broadband. While addressing education, he highlighted STEM programs in the state and said a comprehensive study will be released in 2016 on the topic. Finally, Snyder turned his attention to the auto industry: “Over 70 percent of the research and development for the U.S. auto industry happens right here in Michigan.” He directly addressed technology as well, saying that the auto industry will become the mobility industry and therefore the state needs to make investments with a focus on intelligent vehicles. Snyder discussed the Michigan Mobility Transformation Center and its testbed of connected vehicles, as well as Mcity, the University of Michigan’s closed-loop system for testing connected and autonomous vehicles. But demand has been so high by the auto industry that more research space is needed. He proposed creation of the American Center for Mobility at Willow Run, a 300-acre campus for testing intelligent vehicles that he envisions becoming a base for international standards.
Read the governor's address here


Minnesota
Star rating: TBD
Speech date: March 9, 2016
To sum it up:
Read the governor's address


Mississippi
Star rating: Zero
Speech date: January 26, 2016
To sum it up: Weeks into his second term, Gov. Phil Bryant focused his Jan. 26 speech on the state budget and called for “blue-collar” tax cuts. Bryant did not directly address technology, but while discussing employment opportunities he said there are more than 40,000 career openings in the state, according to the Mississippi Works app. The governor also discussed the need to improve the foster care system, allow parents to choose which schools their children will attend and increase the state's fuel tax.
Read the governor's address here


Missouri
Star rating:
Speech date: January 20, 2016
To sum it up: Gov. Jay Nixon used his final State of the State address to talk about a number of issues facing the state's residents. He lauded improvements within Missouri’s automotive industry and the creation of new jobs. He also spoke to recent flooding in portions of the Midwestern state. Nixon touched on the state of business and entrepreneurship in the technology space, calling out the creative mind behind LocalRaces.com, a website used to help charities and nonprofits organize running events. The Missouri Technology Corp., a public-private partnership to foster high-tech companies, has provided seed capital to innovative startups and allowed them to leverage more than $200 million in private investment within the state. The Missouri Technology Corp. would get a budget increase of $10 million in the governor's proposed plan. Nixon also called for improvements to Missouri ports to allow for better transport of goods throughout the world and changes to health care in the wake of rising Medicaid costs. The governor also touched on the need to better prepare students for technology jobs through 21st-century programs, calling for opportunities to connect low-income students with courses in computer science.
Read the governor's address here


Montana
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock did not give a State of the State address in 2016.


Nebraska
Star rating:
Speech date: January 14, 2016
To sum it up: Nearly a third of Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts’ State of the State address was dedicated to honoring notable Nebraskans, including those in law enforcement and the military. He spoke to cuts in state spending and vaguely touched on a bill to expand access to health care in rural areas. He focused on challenges facing Nebraska’s agriculture industry, which makes up one-quarter of the state’s economy, like falling prices of goods like corn and cattle. Ricketts also stressed the need for 21st-century roads and bridges to grow industry and transport goods. He pointed to efforts around prison sentencing and corrections reform, reminding listeners of sentencing calculation errors based on a flawed formula that resulted in the early release of prisoners, bringing scandal to the state. An automated system is being instituted to prevent similar calculation errors in the future. He pointed to the creation of ACCESSNebraska, through the Department of Health and Human Services, which offers online and telephone access to health-care-related services. Ricketts also addressed the growing costs of Medicaid and other entitlement programs straining the state budget.
Read the governor's address here


Nevada
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval did not give a State of the State address in 2016.


New Hampshire
Star rating:
Speech date: February 4, 2016
To sum it up: In the span of 45 minutes, New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan uttered the word "innovation" 14 times, nearly once every three minutes. And innovation is actually a broad theme in her administration, as indicated by the Innovate NH program meant to help build a modern workforce and provide tax credits for tech businesses that contribute to the economy. More attention, however, was given to the opioid addiction crisis. The increase in overdoses from opioid abuse has led some states to take a technical approach, more closely monitoring what type of prescriptions are being written by doctors and making sure patients do not have easy access to the potentially harmful medications. Hassan called for “upgrading technology to strengthen our prescription drug monitoring program and to ensure that more prescribers can use it in a timely fashion.” States like Massachusetts and Vermont are also increasing funding for their drug tracking systems. In her closing remarks, Hassan mentioned the state’s Live Free and Start Program, a joint venture between the governor’s office, the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority and the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development to assist technology startups. She also noted the crucial role of the state in encouraging small businesses by connecting young companies with angel investors.
Read the governor's address here


New Jersey
Star rating:
Speech date: January 12, 2016
To sum it up: The majority of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s Jan. 12 State of the State address bypassed technology completely, focusing primarily on how far the state’s budget, taxes and investment in education have come since he took office six years ago. He did, however, make note of a study he commissioned from Rutgers University — a study that analyzed state data to determine the characteristics of New Jersey’s most expensive Medicaid patients. The findings? That within the top 1 percent of the most expensive Medicaid patients, “more than 86 percent have a mental illness, substance abuse issue or both,” Christie said, noting that the findings have led the state to work toward delivering more effective treatment and lower long-term costs. Christie’s only other tech mention was in the education space, where he called out a math teacher who succeeded in piquing students’ interest in STEM subjects and careers, and started her school’s AP computer science class and “Girls Who Code” club. “If we choose to keep investing in and supporting innovation in our education system, there’s no reason we can’t achieve many more success stories,” Christie said.
Read the governor's address here


New Mexico
Star rating:
Speech date: January 19, 2016
To sum it up: On Jan. 19, Gov. Susana Martinez began her address by honoring New Mexico police officers Daniel Webster and Gregg “Nigel” Benner, shot and killed in the line of duty late last year. “As we start this session, this is not the backdrop we asked for, but it’s the reality we face,” she said, adding that every judge should have real-time access to the criminal background and history of defendants who appear in their courtrooms to more accurately inform sentencing and bail decisions. Currently, up to six different criminal databases provide information to the courts when release or detention decisions are being made, but in August 2015, the a Supreme Court committee recommended a centralized clearinghouse where detention facilities, courts and municipal courts can access criminal histories and risk assessment in real time. Martinez also acknowledged that preventing people from becoming criminals in the first place is imperative, and education plays a role. In addition to expanding pre-K, ensuring quality teachers, turning failing schools around and increasing parental involvement, she noted that the high school graduation rate must improve. Truancy is a key impediment, she said — but a new early warning dropout prevention system that identifies at-risk students and is linked to college and data-based decision-making may help improve results. Martinez also called on the Legislature to support the “Students Work” internship portal, where any New Mexico business could post internships that colleges and universities would then use to connect students to open positions. And in the state’s high-tech sector, legislation has been passed “to encourage research and development of cutting-edge products, and expanded access to capital that so many startups need,” Martinez said, adding that the state recently launched an effort to deploy up to $40 million in new early-stage investment capital to help New Mexico companies get off the ground and grow.
Read the governor's address here


New York
Star rating:
Speech date: January 13, 2016
To sum it up: Technology only received a few direct mentions in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s speech on Jan. 13. After saying that the state government has “shortchanged upstate New York for many years,” Cuomo proposed multiple investments for the area including $22 billion over five years for infrastructure improvements like broadband. Referencing climate change numerous times during the speech, he called on New York to become an international capital for clean and green energy products. As part of that line of thinking, Cuomo proposed the Clean Energy Opportunity Training Program, a $15 million investment for community colleges to train students on solar technology and installation. Cuomo would also like to see solar installed in more than 150,000 homes and businesses by 2020, in addition to converting State University of New York facilities to renewable energy. Moving on to public safety, he addressed the increasing threat of terrorism. “The Internet has opened a portal of hate,” said Cuomo. “What was at one time largely confined to the Middle East can arrive here now with the click of a mouse.” To better secure the state, he proposed physical and operational updates to public safety operations. Following the recommendation of former New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Cuomo would like to move the state’s counterterrorism operations to the State Police in order to improve intelligence sharing and reduce response times.
Read the governor's address here


North Carolina
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory did not give a State of the State address in 2016.


North Dakota
North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple did not give a State of the State address in 2016.


Ohio
Star rating: TBD
Speech date: TBD
To sum it up:
Read the governor's address


Oklahoma
Star rating: Zero
Speech date: February 1, 2016
To sum it up: Gov. Mary Fallin delivered her State of the State address Feb. 1, and like many other governors this year, left Oklahoma's plans for technology out of her remarks. Fallin addressed the impacts of domestic oil markets and falling oil prices on the state and hard financial decisions that would need to be made. She called for changes to the budget structure and more money for the Oklahoma prison system, citing that the Department of Corrections would run out of funding this fiscal year without action. The governor also said K-12 educational reform is needed, calling it the “old dinosaur nobody will bring out of the closet.” More money is needed for classrooms, she said, to better prepare students for future jobs.
Read the governor's address here


Oregon
Star rating: TBD
Speech date: TBD
To sum it up:
Read the governor's address


Pennsylvania
Star rating: Zero
Speech date: February 9, 2016
To sum it up: Gov. Tom Wolf’s Feb. 9 address was somber in nature and singular in focus. “Our commonwealth is in crisis. A crisis that threatens our future,” he stated early in the speech, referring to the $2 billion budget deficit. Should the General Assembly fail to approve a plan to resolve the discrepancy, he continued, consequences will be “real,” “immediate” and “severe.” Property tax hikes imposed by local school districts since 2011 will continue, he predicted, while residents will get fewer services from the state. Wolf enumerated a long list of specific consequences from a business-as-usual budget approach, including more teacher layoffs, increasingly crowded classrooms, cuts to services for seniors and the disabled, and reductions in child-care programs. He went on to detail a contentious budget process, with failed attempts at compromise between the governor and the legislature that leave the state without a budget. Complimenting those legislators willing to compromise in order to move the state forward, he told those unwilling to address the “time bomb ticking” to “find another job.” How technology figures into the state’s plan is unclear, as Wolf made no specific mention of it in his remarks.
Read the governor's address here


Rhode Island
Star rating:
Speech date: February 2, 2016
To sum it up: Gov. Gina Raimondo referenced some positive economic indicators in her Feb. 2 address, like the country’s largest unemployment rate drop in 2015 to 5.1 percent, and progress on a major life sciences complex in Providence. “We are closer than ever to realizing our vision of establishing a magnet of innovation, entrepreneurship and investment,” she said, crediting economic development policies passed by the General Assembly in 2015. Raimondo’s agenda includes a focus on “advanced industries” driven by technology and research and development — industries that grow faster than other segments of the economy. To address the fact that employment in those industries fell faster than in any other state over the past three decades, she proposed an increase in the R&D tax credit and a statewide, bond-funded competition to build an innovation campus where universities and businesses work side-by-side to turn ideas into thriving businesses. She also suggested improving the business climate by expanding online permitting, along with rooting out waste and fraud in the state’s Temporary Disability Insurance program. To boost the state’s talent pipeline, Raimondo proposed that high-achieving science or technology students who graduate from a university in the state and land a job in a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) field should get help repaying student loans. To get kids ready for secondary education and boost digital literacy, she also proposed expanding K-12 computer science programs.
Read the governor's address here


South Carolina
Star rating: Zero
Speech date: January 20, 2016
To sum it up: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley did not have much to say in her State of the State address about technology. She did, however, talk about staggering domestic violence statistics, the state’s response to natural and man-made disasters, foreign investment within the state, and South Carolina's 5.5 percent unemployment rate — the lowest since 2001. She touched on the need to focus attention on K-12 schools, disparities in education and the need to better prepare students for higher education. In addition, Haley addressed ongoing efforts to reform ethics laws for public officials. She also lauded the presence of companies like Boeing, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Daimler in the state's economy. The governor said transportation has been a topic of discussion in the state, but she vowed not to sign any legislation that fails to reform the Department of Transportation.
Read the governor's address here


South Dakota
Star rating:
Speech date: January 12, 2016
To sum it up: In South Dakota, Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s speech focused heavily on education as he outlined plans to catapult the state out of the unenviable ranking of last in the country in teacher salaries. A proposed half-cent sales tax would go to school districts to raise salaries and make other improvements. Daugaard also wants to expand e-learning options currently provided by the Center for Statewide E-learning at Northern State University in order to increase access to quality instruction. Pointing to current technology-oriented shared services like Internet bandwidth and student information systems — both provided by the state to schools at no cost — the governor suggested extending the model to other school services, like software licensing. Daugaard also touted a new data-driven system from the Department of Labor and Regulation that helps students select education and career paths by viewing statistics on jobs and salaries they could attain based on their chosen path at public universities and technical schools. In addition, a new jobs database on the horizon will feature openings based on skills and competencies rather than job titles and descriptions in an effort to better match job-seekers with open positions. Daugaard cited the state’s much improved transparency grade from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group — from a D+ in 2011 to an A- last year — as evidence of the effectiveness of the state’s Better Government initiatives, including a revamped Open S.D. portal with frequently updated financial information, and new websites that shine light on administrative rules and the activities of state boards and commissions.
Read the governor's address here


Tennessee
Star rating: Zero
Speech date: February 1, 2016
To sum it up: In his Feb. 1 address, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam covered the standard State of the State topics — education, finances, budget and health care — but technology did not make his shortlist. Haslam said the state’s economy and employment opportunities have improved. Despite the positive economic outlook, the governor said state leaders have cut Tennessee's budget by nearly $500 million to ensure a softened blow in the event of another recession. Haslam also said the state’s rainy day fund has nearly doubled since he took office in 2011. The closest the governor came to mentioning technology’s role in the state was his reference to the effects of fuel-efficient vehicles and decreased tax money for funding infrastructure. The rising cost of Medicaid and the increases to education funding were also addressed in his remarks.
Read the governor's address here


Texas
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott did not give a State of the State address in 2016.


Utah
Star rating:
Speech date: January 27, 2016
To sum it up: Gov. Gary Herbert rattled off an impressive list of stats as evidence of Utah’s economic strength, including the addition of 40,000 jobs over the past year, a AAA bond rating and a distinction as the country’s most fundamentally sound economy. Much of the state’s revenue — $1.3 billion over the last four years — has been funneled into education, resulting in an improved high school graduation rate. Herbert briefly mentioned the role of technology in improving air quality, citing recent gains in emissions and his continuing effort to work with refineries to produce clean, Tier 3 fuel. Similarly brief were mentions of tech-enabled efficiencies like the ability for residents to carry fishing and hunting licenses on their smartphones, faster fingerprint processing and reduced wait times at the DMV. He also took on what he called the “fundamentally flawed Affordable Care Act,” urging legislators to help come up with a health-care solution for Utahns in the current session.
Read the governor's address here


Vermont
Star rating:
Speech date: January 7, 2016
To sum it up: Gov. Peter Shumlin put a substantial emphasis on employment and green energy opportunities during his State of the State address. He talked about the effort to shift away from the state’s aging nuclear energy sources and toward renewable energy sources like wind, solar and hydroelectricity. Shumlin boasted that Vermont has more clean energy jobs per capita than any other state. He urged a partnership with California to help divest Vermont of coal as an energy source and stressed the importance of continued concentration on renewables. Despite the focus on clean energy, Shumlin said projects need public input and should be built on a “Vermont scale,” not as part of a massive solar farm. He also called attention to the growing crisis of opiate addiction in the state saying that more upgrades need to be made to the prescription monitoring system to prevent those misusing prescription drugs from “shopping” in other states. The governor went on to criticize the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and pharmaceutical companies for their part in the opiate addiction problem.
Read the governor's address here


Virginia
Star rating:
Speech date: January 13, 2016
To sum it up: The overarching theme in Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s State of the State address, delivered Jan. 13, was “let’s work together” — to stimulate economic growth and ultimately change lives. And tech plays a large role in accomplishing these. High school students should receive training so they’re being “prepared to lead in the 21st century,” which includes new technologies like computer adaptive testing to evaluate student learning and creating schools of the future — like the Richmond area’s new CodeRVA school set to open next fall. CodeRVA will prepare students to learn coding; they will obtain a high school diploma in two years and a two-year degree at a community college, while simultaneously working in real-world computer science jobs. And there are plenty of jobs: “We have 17,000 cyber jobs open with an average starting pay of $88,000,” McAuliffe said. And when it comes to four-year universities, nearly $850 million in bonds are designated for strengthening and expanding STEM and workforce programs, with another $214 million allotted for similar efforts at community colleges. Cybersecurity — a critical issue nationwide — also is a focus for McAuliffe, who noted that Virginia beat out 46 other states for a new Air Force Cyber Operations Squadron that will reside at Langley Air Force Base. And on Jan. 14, he cut the ribbon for VISA’s new state-of-the-art cyber fusion center, which will provide threat detection and command and control operations for the payment network. The expansion of renewable energy in the state — such as the 80-megawatt solar facility that will power Amazon Web Services’ data centers in Northern Virginia — also will stimulate economic growth, because, McAuliffe said, leaders from Microsoft, Google and Amazon have made it clear that “they will only do business and create jobs in states that can provide renewable energy to power their operations.”
Read the governor's address here


Washington
Star rating:
Speech date: January 12, 2016
To sum it up: Fresh off another year of economic growth, Gov. Jay Inslee began his State of the State address touting Washington’s commitment to innovation and forward thinking. And while the state ranks high in overall use of technology, the governor made very few substantive mentions of how technology will be used in 2016. Inslee championed education accomplishments, including being the sole state to pass a tuition-cutting bill and allow universal access to kindergarten. He also briefly touched upon the state’s unique position in the growing private space exploration field as Blue Origin, brainchild of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and SpaceX, founded by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, operate facilities in the state. In addition, Inslee lauded the passing of a green infrastructure bill. Washington, one of the greenest states when it comes to clean energy usage per capita and carbon footprint, passed a 16-year, $16 billion “Connecting Washington” package, which Inslee called the “greenest” transportation package in state history. In his closing remarks, Inslee mentioned his executive order on gun violence, promising a stronger background check system for gun buyers that will provide more information to drive smart, data-driven solutions to reducing gun violence.
Read the governor's address here


West Virginia
Star rating:
Speech date: January 13, 2016
To sum it up: Like so many of his counterparts, West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin focused on jobs and the economy in his address, strengthening workforce development programs in part with a $40 million federal grant to help find stable work for former coal miners and other unemployed West Virginians. One tech tool figuring prominently in the effort is a new Regional Job Matching database, aimed at matching students with training in high-demand industries. Also on the education front is Tomblin’s Innovation in Education Grant Program, which will reward creative classroom approaches and support STEM-related curriculum. On the chopping block, if Tomblin’s plan gets legislative support, is the state’s current sales tax exemption for telecommunications, restoring a 6 percent sales tax on cellphone and landline use, expected to result in an addition $60 million per year in state coffers. Another proposal from the governor would allow transportation network companies, namely Uber and Lyft, to operate in the state, provided they secure a permit from the Department of Motor Vehicles, meet insurance requirements and comply with nondiscrimination laws.
Read the governor's address here


Wisconsin
Star rating:
Speech date: January 19,2016
To sum it up: In his sixth turn behind the podium for the State of the State address, Gov. Scott Walker painted a rosy economic picture, citing stable finances, low unemployment and a favorable business climate. He also pointed to the state’s fully funded pension system as further evidence of Wisconsin’s economic health. Technology clearly has a role to play in Walker’s Lean Government initiative, launched in 2012. This year’s address included a mention of savings achieved by the Department of Safety and Professional Services by transitioning to electronic documents — savings, he noted, that could fund 43 youth apprenticeships. Dedicating a large part of his speech to education initiatives, Walker recounted how the state recently tripled its broadband investment in order to help small businesses, farmers, tourism and public schools.
Read the governor's address here


Wyoming
Star rating:
Speech date: February 8, 2016
To sum it up: Gov. Matt Mead delivered his sixth State of the State address on Feb. 8, declaring that the state of the state remains strong, despite financial challenges due in part to diminished income from Wyoming's coal industry. Positive economic indicators cited include dramatic increases in export growth and international trade for the state, as well as a large rainy day fund. Outlining budget priorities like resources for local governments, infrastructure, agriculture, education (with a brief mention of the importance of STEM education in particular) and health care, Mead vowed not to "kick the can down the road," but rather make the hard budget choices that position the state for a prosperous future. He argued for economic development investments that leverage rainy day funds. Among the achievements Mead pointed to were centralizing technology services and otherwise streamlining state government, along with the statewide Wyoming Unified Network that made the state the first in the country to operate on iPv6. He pointed out that the network also makes Wyoming a connectivity leader in K-12 education, one of two states to meet the broadband goal of 100 kilobits per second per student. In addition, the governor touted the state’s tech prowess by pointing to its top-tier status in recruiting data centers, as well as the work of the NCAR Supercomputing Center in Cheyenne, funded by the National Science Foundation. The speech sounded a contentious note as Mead urged lawmakers to admit defeat relative to their shared opposition to the Affordable Care Act, and accept Medicaid expansion and the federal dollars that come with it, rather than sending that money to other states and leaving 20,000 Wyoming residents uninsured.
Watch the governor's address here

Noelle Knell Editor

Government Technology editor Noelle Knell has more than 15 years of writing and editing experience, covering public projects, transportation, business and technology. A California native, she has worked in both state and local government, and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history. She can be reached via email and on Twitter.

Elaine Pittman Former Managing Editor

Elaine Pittman worked for Government Technology from 2008 to 2017.

Eyragon Eidam Web Editor

Eyragon Eidam is the Web editor for Government Technology magazine, after previously serving as assistant news editor and covering such topics as legislation, social media and public safety. He can be reached at eeidam@erepublic.com.

Ryan McCauley Former Staff Writer

Ryan McCauley was a staff writer for Government Technology magazine from October 2016 through July 2017, and previously served as the publication's editorial assistant.

Jessica Mulholland Former Web Editor/Photographer

Jessica Mulholland served as the Web editor of Government Technology magazine from October 2012 through September 2017. She worked for the Government Technology editorial team for nearly 10 years.

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