THE 50 STATES
THE 50 STATES<@VM>THE 50 STATES: Maryland to Wyoming
TECH WORK. Alabama Works, a program funded by the Legislature last year, will open technology centers later this year in Anniston, Eutaw and Montgomery. The centers will offer residents courses in computer technology and machining.
The state also is awarding scholarships for residents to study at the centers.
GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT. The Environmental Conservation Department has posted a video on the state's Web site, at www.state.ak.us/local/bears510.html, to help inform residents about the plight of garbage-eating bears.
The state is having problems with bears that have turned to ransacking town and village rubbish piles instead of seeking wild food.
CONNECTING LINK. The School Facilities Board last month voted to award a $100 million contract to Qwest Communications International Inc. The Denver company will connect the state's public schools to the Internet. Each school already has PCs, many of which came from the Students First program established by Gov. Jane Dee Hull in 1998.
SCHOOL SITE. The Higher Education Department unveiled its new Web site, www.arkansashighered.com. The site provides visitors with links to Arkansas' colleges and universities; information on financial aid and living in the state; and a six-minute video to prepare students for college.
CHAD-FREE ELECTION. Riverside County's $14 million investment in 4,250 automated teller machine-style touch-screen voting devices paid off in the Feb. 6 special election for a seat in the state assembly. The county had all results counted and reported by 9:17 p.m., an hour and 17 minutes after the polls closed. Election officials in neighboring San Bernardino County, which used a punch card voting system, took until 12:27 a.m. to tally their votes.
POPULAR VOTE. Senate Bill 74, currently before the state senate, will let counties switch entirely to a mailed-ballot system like the one used in Oregon. The bill was approved unanimously by the Government and Transportation Committee last month and sent on to the full senate for consideration.
The state uses a mix of optical-scan systems, electronic voting machines and lever machines in most of its voting jurisdictions. A few counties use prescored punch card machines.
DO IT MY WAY. The Information Technology Department has published new standards governing 84 categories of technology used throughout the state. A list of the standards can be found on the department's Web site at www.doit.state.ct.us.
The standards will be woven into the state's procurement process and will help determine purchases on everything from routers to servers.
STEERING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. The state is planning to unveil a newly designed Web portal this spring to help provide more online services.
Gov. Ruth Ann Minner created a centralized body to oversee funding for agency Web sites. In addition, the E-Government Steering Committee will develop policy and technical standards to help agency Web sites be more consistent.
For more information about the committee, visit the governor's Web site at http://www.state.de.us/governor/news/2001/01January/01news.htm.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
SAFE AND SECURE. Leon Jackson has been appointed information technology security director for the Office of the Chief Technology Officer. Jackson was hired to help the district clean up security problems with its payroll, financial, tax and human resources systems.
SUNNY SITE UP. Tampa launched a new Web site at www.TampaGov.com, hosted by Florida Local Interactive, a subsidiary of National Information Consortium Inc. of Overland Park, Kan.
The site features items from the Tampa Museum of Art online store. Users can purchase items using Visa or MasterCard for payment.
BOATLOAD OF CASH. The Natural Resources Department auctioned a 65-foot research diving vessel on the Web site of Liquidation.com Inc. for $170,000 last month. The department turned to the Washington-based online auctioneer because the six-year-old vessel no longer met U.S. Coast Guard requirements and therefore was declared surplus property.
BUY ON LEI-AWAY. Hawaii officials chose NIC Commerce, the electronic procurement subsidiary of NIC of Reston, Va., to build an electronic purchasing system for the Aloha State. When the Web portal, at www.eHawaiiGov.org, is finished, state agencies will be able to send out requests for proposals, sign documents and issue contract awards electronically.
EAGLE SCOUT. The state's Web site, www.accessidaho.org, won the Eagle eGovernment Leadership Award from the Council of State Governments. The site was chosen from a field of 200 applicants as best all-around state government Web site and won kudos for its navigation ease, transaction processing capabilities and overall effectiveness.
GREEN COPS. Illinois' Environmental Protection Agency has asked for proposals to build a system for managing compliance and enforcement information. The contractor will provide systems analysis, design, development, testing and implementation services for the Agency Compliance and Enforcement System.
IN THE HOUSE. Democrats in the state House of Representatives post session information on the Access Indiana Web site at www.state.in.us/legislative/house_democrats. The site allows users to read daily journals of House and Senate sessions, review archives of past sessions and view bills.
DIGITAL VISION. Gov. Tom Vilsack called for the creation of an Advanced Telecommunication Alliance to unite private- and public-sector telecommunications organizations for the purpose of designing an advanced telecommunications service plan for Iowa. He also said the state should fund a Digital Communities Account to help cities, counties and towns get technical assistance needed to spread the growth of advanced broadband services.
GRANT YOUR REQUEST. A $950,000 federal grant will provide 450 Wichita School District special education teachers with notebook PCs, software, printers and modems.
State Rep. Todd Tiahrt helped secure the federal grant. The money will also provide the teachers with a new automated system to track their work with students.
THE POWERS THAT BEEP. The Governor's Office for Technology plans to expand the state's messaging system by offering wireless service via BlackBerry 950 and 957 units from Research in Motion Ltd. of Waterloo, Ontario. The handheld devices, which include display screens and small keyboards, will link to Microsoft Outlook 9x or 2000 apps running under Windows 9x or NT 4.0 on users' desktop computers. Users will need an existing mailbox on the state's Enterprise Messaging Service and an available serial port on their PCs.
TIMESAVER. It used to take the city of Alexandria nine hours to back up all the data on its frame relay WAN, which hosts e-mail, data files and Internet access for the fire, police and other departments. Now that the city has installed NetVault backup and restore software from BakBone Software Inc. of San Diego, the backup process takes 90 minutes, said information systems manager Jimmy Koonce.
MAIN TASK. A task force that studied how to use a $50 million fund to upgrade school computers recommended that the state provide portable notebook PCs and wireless computer devices to all seventh and eighth-grade students and their teachers.
The task force estimated the cost of the initial proposed equipment would be $15 million over two years.
If approved, the plan would begin in 2002.MASSACHUSETTS
GET THE MESSAGE. The Information Technology Division is teaming with Microsoft Corp. to design and implement a centrally administered enterprisewide authentication and messaging system using Microsoft Windows 2000 Active Directory and Exchange 2000. The division is offering the service to all state agencies.
HOME SWEET HOME. Detroit's City Planning and Development Department plans to make its database of city-owned properties available on the Web a year from now. The revamped property information system will assist developers and investors seeking to buy any of about 44,000 abandoned buildings and lots.
HOT COMPUTER, COLD PEOPLE. Thousands of eligible low-income families lost government aid for utility bills because of a hardware problem. John F. Clark, chief information officer of the Human Resources Department, and Sandra E. Brown, home energy programs director, were forced to resign in the wake of the problem.
The department purchased a new system for distributing benefits last summer. Erlene Wilson, Human Resources spokeswoman, said the agency started noticing problems with the system in November, but did not solve them until late January. The delay in application processing meant eligible residents received no funds.
'They discovered part of the problem with the hardware was the environment in which it was placed wasn't cool enough, so they replaced the system and moved it to another location,' Wilson said.
The state was using dual 700-MHz Dell 4400 servers with 1G of RAM. The state upgraded its system by adding a quad 850-MHz DL 580 server with 1G of RAM from Compaq Computer Corp.
The state is running customized software from Computer Sciences Corp. of El Segundo, Calif.
THE BEST DEFENSE. Hacker attacks on state Web sites rose from 23 per day in 1999 to 106 in 2000, according to the new state budget for 2002 and 2003. 'The growth of government activity on the Internet has spawned an urgent need to protect the integrity of government resources online from hackers,' noted Gov. Jesse Ventura's budget.
To fend off the attacks, Ventura has asked the Legislature to approve a $500,000 increase in funding for Minnesota's North Star Web portal.
BEHIND PORTAL No. 1. The Information Technology Services Department seeks proposals from vendors to build a Mississippi Web portal and develop online services. The procurement flows from the work of Mississippi's E-Government Commission, founded last May by Gov. Ronnie Musgrove [GCN/State & Local, December 2000, Page 7].
BLUNT ASSESSMENT. Missouri should provide $5 million in matching grants annually to local jurisdictions to help pay for new voting equipment statewide, Secretary of State Matt Blunt concluded in a new report. 'Last November's election served to raise serious concerns in the public's mind, placing public trust in our election process in jeopardy,' wrote Blunt, the state's ranking elections official.
His report didn't endorse any single type of voting machine or technology. But it did call for 'the certification of touch-screen and other electronic tabulation systems as long as safeguards are in place to ensure the integrity of votes cast and ensure a paper audit trail in case of a contested election.'
WINDS OF CHANGE. 'Serving Citizens with Information Technology' was the theme of the first Montana IT Day, held Jan. 24 in the capitol rotunda in Helena. State agency representatives demonstrated 13 electronic government projects.
PAPERLESS PROSE. 'The cat ate my homework' is no longer an acceptable excuse in teacher Brad Fuerst's paperless English class at Omaha North High School. Students in the science and technology magnet school have their own Novell GroupWise e-mail accounts. Each student in Fuerst's classroom is assigned a computer, and lesson plans are posted as Web pages. Students answer and submit discussion questions via e-mail and write essays about reading assignments on their computers.
OUT OF CONTROL. Gov. Jeanne Shaheen unveiled plans to improve the state's computer-based mapping system as part of an initiative to help New Hampshire combat sprawl. GrowSmart New Hampshire will help state officials protect the state's open space, historic character and rural landscapes.
ONE LAST THING. Before heading for Washington, former Gov. Christie Todd Whitman established the state Geographic Information Council and Geographic Information Office through an executive order.
The 11-member council is expected to develop policies, standards and guidelines to help improve geographic information systems activities in the state.
LOST AND FOUND. The Public Safety Department has launched a new missing persons Web site, at www.nmmissingpersons.com.
The site features information from the New Mexico Criminal Justice Information System database about persons who have been identified as missing.
It is based in part on information shared with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
GIVE ME A HINT. The Information Technology Department shares information and helpful hints on its site, at webmaster.state.nv.us, for agencies and commissions that want to create or redesign their sites.
The site also provides ready-to-post graphics such as the state seal, homepage templates and examples of finished agency sites.
LEND ME YOUR EARS. Gov. George E. Pataki broadcast his 2001 State of the State Address live on the Internet. Users accessed the speech by linking to the New York State homepage at www.state.ny.us.
BUY THE BOOK. The state's online portal, NC @ Your Service, has added online stores that allow users to buy state government products.
The new site, at www.ncgov.com/store/catalog.asp, features two stores: N.C. Wildlife Store and the Museum Shop. Internet users can buy hats and T-shirts that feature North Carolina native wildlife, books about the state, prints and maps.
NEW TOOLS, NEW ECONOMY. In his inaugural speech, Gov. John Hoeven called for the state government to give North Dakotans the tools they need to succeed in the new economy. Hoeven recommended the completion of the state's high-speed data network, which will provide Internet access to 194 North Dakota communities.
WHO PUNCHED THE CHADS OUT. Rep. Tom J. Lendrum introduced an election-reform bill in the House of Representatives that will permit county election officials to remove chads attached by one or two corners to a punch card ballot before it is run through an automated vote-counting machine. In addition, the bill directs election officials to remake and properly count votes on punch cards that voters mistakenly inserted backward in machines.
ON THE JOB. Amnis Systems Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif., last month completed deploying an on-site emergency medical services training network at 33 Tulsa fire stations. The facility uses streaming MPEG video to deliver the training across the city's fiber-optic backbone. Firefighters can receive training while at their stations instead of at an off-site classroom.
GREEN MACHINE. To combat potential energy shortages in the Pacific states this year, the Administrative Services Department has advice for state employees: Turn off your computer when you aren't using it for an hour or more. The department offers other energy saving tips on its Web site, at http://www.facilities.das.state.or.us/Energy_Conserv.html.
WHAT'S UP, DOC? The Medical Licensure and Discipline Board Web site, at www.docboard.org/ri/discipact.htm, lets Internet users view a list of disciplinary actions taken against physicians licensed in the state. The site also gives information about how to file complaints with the board about doctors.
WHAT'S YOUR BID. Allegheny County's Purchasing Division has teamed with BidNet from International Data Base Corp. of Albany, N.Y., to post commodities and service purchases online.
The county will no longer mail invitations for bids or requests for proposals. Vendors will have to access the Web site, at www.allegheny.pa.us/purchasing/index.asp, to download the electronic versions of bidding forms.
SKILLED BID. The Vocational Rehabilitation Department has contracted with online auctioneer Liquidation.com Inc. of Washington to sell surplus IBM gear resulting from a systems upgrade. Items for auction are terminal cluster controllers and monitors, 50 printers and a mainframe computer.
AND T1 LINES FOR ALL. Gov. Bill Janklow talked about the strides South Dakota has made with technology in its schools in his state of the state address. Janklow last year testified before Congress about technology in the schools.
Sitting next to him was Anthony Williams, mayor of Washington, D.C. Williams told Congress that he wanted a T1 line in every school in his city by 2004. 'My friends, we've had a T1 circuit in every school building in South Dakota ' since last September,' Janklow said.
ALL IN THE PLAN. The Statewide Strategic Plan for 2001 through 2003 calls for the creation of an online 'one-stop shopping center' for state services by next year. The state plans to add government transactions to its Web portal, including services for a child care center, state park reservations and health insurance eligibility verification.
TOUCH TEST. Acting on Texas Secretary of State Henry Cuellar's admonition to ban the punch card voting system, several polling places in Plano will test the AccuVote TS electronic touch-screen system from Global Election Systems Inc. of Mc- Kinney in a May school board election.
MOUNTAINEER CTO. D. Keith Comstock has been appointed chief technology officer for the Governor's Office of Technology. Most recently, Comstock founded Fenwick Technologies Inc. of West Virginia. Comstock holds a bachelor's degree in business from Antioch University in Yellow Springs, Ohio.
SATELLITE SURVEILLANCE. Parolees in Utah might soon have their movements followed by satellite. The Corrections Department proposed testing a parolee monitoring system that uses ankle bracelets for wireless communication with briefcase-size satellite uplinks. Although the satellite system has a few bugs, when it works, it can give minute-by-minute updates of a parolee's location within about 40 feet via a geographic information system.
SAFE PHONES. The Bellows Falls Police Department is distributing cellular phones to victims of domestic violence. The phones are programmed to dial 911.
U.S. Cellular Corp. of Chicago donated 10 cellular phones under the company's Stop Abuse From Existing (SAFE) program. More than 350 shelters and law enforcement agencies participate in the SAFE program.
SEND ME THE BILL. The state formed a partnership with National Information Consortium of Overland Park, Kan., to provide a personalized legislation tracking service via Virginia's Web sites. The service allows users to track up to 20 General Assembly bills and provides automatic tracking information that includes bill names, numbers, sponsors, summaries and status updates. Users can register for the free service at www.vipnet.org or on the General Assembly's homepage at legis.state.va.us/.
YOU SAY AETHER. Aether Systems Inc. of Marlborough, Mass., won a contract to provide Seattle's police and fire departments with PacketCluster mobile government software over a cellular digital packet data wireless network. The PacketCluster software supports Automatic Fingerprinting Information System and digital mug shots, as well as mapping and automatic vehicle location tools.
KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCKING ' The Administration Department has launched a new state Internet portal, at www.wisconsin.gov. The site is linked to a database that provides information on 500 types of licenses, permits and registrations. It links to most of the 15 state agencies that issue licenses and permits.
HOOK ME UP. The state completed fiber-optic links from Casper to Cody and Casper to Gillette. The project is part of the Wyoming Equality Network program that when finished will provide about two-thirds of Wyoming with the bandwidth needed for future technological growth, according to Gov. Jim Geringer's office.