OK House Committee Passes IT Streamlining Legislation

Oklahoma City, OK (CompNewsNetwork) - Legislation that would consolidate information technology services among state agencies unanimously passed a House committee today.

The legislation incorporates the recommendations of recent studies to improve the delivery of information technology services and to maximize the state's investment in technology.

"Oklahoma is one of four states in the country that does not have a chief technology officer charged with consolidating and streamlining IT services across state agencies," said Rep. David Derby, author of House Bill 1704.

A task force created by 2005 legislation concluded that Oklahoma lacked a state technology strategy after listening to the concerns of agency information technology personnel. In 2007, as part of an initiative to streamline and modernize state government, the House Republican leadership further examined the costs savings potential in restructuring the state's technology services.

Most recently, experts from across the nation appeared before a joint meeting of the House and Senate Appropriation and Budget committees to provide examples of other states' successes in modernizing their information technology services, often resulting in tremendous savings.

"There is no need for each state agency to have a separate technology department and director when those needs are often similar," said Derby, R-Owasso. "We can strengthen our technology purchasing power by centralizing IT purchases into a single contract, allowing the state to realize better prices."

It is estimated that Oklahoma employs close to 1,500 state employees dedicated to information technology across various agencies.

Under HB 1704, the state's new director of information technology services will have nine months to assess the needs and status of each of the state agencies' various systems, including identifying areas where there may be duplication of services.

The director will also identify costs savings associated with the reorganization of the state's information technology systems. After the nine-month assessment, the director will have another three months to develop and present a statewide information technology plan to legislative leaders.

The legislation is part of an ongoing House Republican effort to consolidate and streamline state government in order to realize savings for the Oklahoma taxpayer.

"We know we have an opportunity, especially in a down budget year, to make our government more efficient while at the same time improving services to those on the streets," said House Government Modernization Committee Chairman Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie.

The bill passed unanimously out of the House Government Modernization Committee today and will next move to the full House for consideration. 

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