THE 50 STATES<@VM>THE 50 STATES: Maryland to Wyoming

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For governments east of the Mississippi, call 301-650-2225 or e-mail [email protected]

For those west, call 301-650-2238 or e-mail [email protected]



LIVE FROM MONTGOMERY. The state Senate decided to allow live audio broadcasts of Senate proceedings from the Legislature's Web site at Several senators had said the live audio would lead to posturing and slow the legislative process. The arguments succeeded in delaying the live audio broadcasts for several months. The state's House of Representatives does not provide live audio broadcasts of its sessions over the Internet.


JUST DUCKY. The Alaska State Geospatial Data Clearinghouse won an $11,000 grant from the Federal Geographic Data Committee's Cooperative Agreements Program. The clearinghouse applied for the grant under the category 'Don't Duck Metadata.' Visitors to the Alaska clearinghouse Web site, at, can see how the program is using geographic information systems to map, monitor and manage environment, geology, transportation and wildlife concerns.


SHOT DOWN. Gov. Jane Hull vetoed SB 1123, a bill that would have established a state cyberdefense plan. Although the Legislature had approved the bill, chief information officer Rick Zelznak opposed it. Zelznak said the legislation set up too much of a 'command and control structure.'

The legislation would have mandated a statewide infrastructure protection center led by the Arizona National Guard and charged with safeguarding everything from dams to secure computer networks.


NEW CHIEF. Gov. Mike Huckabee appointed Doug Elkins director of the Information Systems Department. Elkins replaces Don Melton, who is now the director of the Arkansas State Police. Elkins has been chief operating officer and deputy director of IS since November 1999.


FIRE AWAY. Milpitas officials developed an online job application for firefighters on the city's Web site at More than 450 prospective firefighters applied through the Web site in less than 90 minutes. This same process used to take two city employees more than a week to handle over the phone.


FACE UP TO IT. Colorado agencies lost $9 million last year to identity theft crimes, state officials said. That's one reason the Motor Vehicle Department is working with Polaroid Corp. of Cambridge, Mass., to set up a facial recognition system for drivers' license identification. DMV will use FaceIt software from Visionics Corp. of Minnetonka, Minn., which measures the space between facial features.


TOO MUCH INFO. Education Department officials are worried that a computerized lunch payment program may be collecting too much information on students. Seven elementary, middle and high schools in the state are using Caf' Terminal, an online cafeteria payment system developed by Comalex Inc. of Naples, Fla. The system downloads a student's digital photo, ID number, teacher's name, grade, allergies and account balance. Parents access the company's Web site at to add funds to a student's account.


THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND. The New Castle County Recorder of Deeds office installed a pair of dual-processor servers from Unisys Corp. to run its Internet Deeds Management Solution under Microsoft Windows NT. Unisys and American Cadastre LLC of Alexandria, Va., provided the $1.6 million system. It includes more than a century's worth of land records, amounting to more than 8 million document images. The office has transferred the materials from microfilm and paper records. Users can access the documents over the Web.


EMERGENCY LINKS. Last month Mayor Anthony Williams cut the ribbon to officially open the District's new Public Safety Communications Center, which links all calls and dispatches for the police, fire and emergency medical services department. The center uses the Intergraph Computer Aided Dispatch System from Intergraph Public Safety of Huntsville, Ala., to map and monitor calls and addresses.


SEE MORE OF YBOR. The Tampa Police Department is using FaceIt face recognition software from Visionics Corp. of Minnetonka, Minn., with 36 surveillance cameras in Ybor City, Tampa's entertainment district. The software will compare faces in the crowd with digital photos of 30,000 wanted felons, stored in a database at the Tampa Police Department. Opponents call the system a violation of visitors' and residents' rights.


PEACHY PENSION PAPERS. The Technology Authority has issued a contract on behalf of the Teachers' Retirement System to Layton Graphics Inc. of Marietta for imaging backfile conversion. Under the $974,000 pact, Layton will produce more than 10 million digital image files from the paper pension records of about 275,000 plan members.


SQUARE DEAL. The Labor and Industrial Relations Department awarded a contract valued at $482,786 to Computer Square Inc. of Unionville, Ontario, to design, install and maintain an Employment Security Appeals System. The client-server system will track appeals case details and status.


UP TO SPEED. The Transportation Department awarded a contract valued at $318,000 to Choice Solutions LLC. The Overland Park, Kan., company will provide the department with 300 PCs loaded with CD and DVD players, 10G hard drives and Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 operating systems.


A CAPITAL IDEA. The Capital Development Board, which manages all state-financed construction projects, awarded a $569,000 contract to IBM Corp. for technology to be used in a comprehensive re-engineering of the board's business processes.


CHECK IT OUT. Employers can check a job applicant's criminal history over the State Police Web site, at Before the online search was available, employers had to wait for two weeks for State Police to process criminal history checks by mail. The online search service gives immediate results. But employers must be registered subscribers to the state Web site,, which costs $50 per year.


BUDGET GLOOM. The Information Technology Department is reorganizing to cope with a $1.4 million reduction in its state-funded operating budget, which amounts to a 31 percent budget cut. The department faces a 50 percent reduction in electronic-government projects. The cuts will make it very hard for the department to meet Gov. Thomas Vilsack's goal of making virtually all government services available electronically by 2003, said department director and state chief information officer Richard Varn.


SEWER SERVICE. Officials in the Topeka Water Division acquired eCitizen relationship management software from Hansen Information Technologies Inc. of Sacramento, Calif. The system will replace a paper work order and tracking system. The new software will track the 7,000 customer calls the city water agency receives each month.


AVIS TRIES HARDER. After spending $3.5 million, Kentucky officials issued a stop work order on the Kentucky Vehicle Information System (KVIS), a client-server system designed to replace the state's 20-year-old mainframe-based Automated Vehicle Information System (AVIS). State officials learned that KVIS could cost $12 million a year to operate, compared with $4 million a year for AVIS. Convansys Corp. of Farmington Hills, Mich., is the lead contractor on the KVIS project.


AT YOUR SERVICE. The Louisiana Database Commission last month announced the launching of the Louisiana Services Directory, at, an online catalog of about 500 government services, including those that supply licenses, permits, filings and registrations.


HEARD IN THE YARD. The Corrections Department has asked for proposals to build an Offender Management Information System to replace several systems that are not fully integrated and which generate duplicate information. The system, expected to cost at least $3 million, will provide services across the department's five data processing centers.



UP, UP AND AWAY. The State Agency for Surplus Property conducted an online auction sale of a 1968 Piper airplane that formerly belonged to the Maryland Aviation Administration through The auction began with a minimum bid of $35,000 and within a day had attracted 11 bids that increased the price to almost $40,000. Inc. of Silver Spring, Md., previously has auctioned vehicles and construction equipment for the state.


I HAVE TO WAIT HOW LONG? The Registry of Motor Vehicles posted information on its site, at, about the waiting times at its offices. The system uses software from Q-Matic International Inc. of Molndal, Sweden, to tell motorists at a given time how long they can expect to wait in line for both driver's license and registration transactions.


ANY PORT IN A STORM. The Natural Resources Department unveiled a system for boaters to make harbor reservations through its Web site, at It covers reservations at nine northeastern Michigan harbors so far, with more harbors to be added later.


ARE YOU BEING SERVED? Minneapolis is consolidating its applications and Web services on an ES7000 server from Unisys Corp. running Microsoft Windows 2000. The city expects cost savings by developing a fault-tolerant network and reducing the cost of maintaining several servers. The project, which will serve about 2,000 e-mail users, is expected to cost about $700,000 and to be completed by late 2002. The city has hired Bitsolutions Inc. of White Bear Lake and Microsoft Corp. to help build the system.


IT'S IN THE CARDS. The Human Services Department will launch a pilot electronic benefits transfer program in Rankin County in March. Recipients of food stamps and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families will receive debit cards and personal identification numbers to replace paper forms. Lockheed Martin IMS, a division of Lockheed Martin Corp., received a five-year, $26 million contract to implement the EBT system.


BIG GIS COUNTRY. Every public school classroom in Montana, from kindergarten through Grade 12, will be getting free copies of geographic information system software next year through a program sponsored by NASA, Environmental Systems Research Institute of Redlands, Calif., and Erdas Inc. of Atlanta. Each school will receive digital satellite images of Montana from NASA's Earth Observing System project and copies of ArcView Image Analysis extension, which is image processing software developed jointly by ESRI and Erdas.


NO MORE PENCILS. How did teachers in five school districts spend their summer vacations? Grading exams over the Internet. The teachers spent three weeks scoring the state-required Missouri Assessment Program exams, which measure student performance in math, science, social studies and communication arts. The exams were scanned and saved as digital files by officials at CTB/McGraw-Hill of Monterey, Calif.


EMPLOYEE UNION. Omaha and Douglas County are consolidating their financial, procurement, payroll and human resources data using Oracle Corp.'s E-business Suite. The integrated system will automate administrative tasks for the more than 6,000 city and county employees in the area.


A REST FOR NOMADS. Gov. Kenny Guinn announced that the state welfare computer system, the Nevada Operations Multi-Automated System, won certification from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, bringing the state into compliance with federal requirements. For years, NOMADS suffered from missed deadlines and user complaints [GCN/State & Local, June 1999, Page 8 and March 20, Page 8].


GRANITE STATE GRANT. The Department of Resources and Economic Development received a $100,000 state economic development grant, to be matched by federal funds, for spurring deployment of broadband services. As part of its Telecommunications Planning and Development Initiative, the department plans to expand its E-Trade Federation, which provides videoconferencing and broadband services to small businesses and rural areas.


CLASS ACT. The Garden State has beaten its goal of installing at least one classroom computer for every five students a year. The state government devoted $250 million to the project, supplemented by millions from local governments. Students in kindergarten through high school now share multimedia computers in a ratio of 1-to-4.5 students, up from a ratio of 1-to-7 in 1999.


GOOD CATCH. A city Web site gave out misinformation to Albuquerque voters, who were asked in a May 30 special election if the city should issue up to $15 million in general obligation bonds for a baseball stadium. The city council's Web site, at, mistakenly told voters they couldn't vote on a second question'should funds be used to renovate the city's existing stadium or should the city build an entirely new stadium'if they did not vote 'yes' for the first question. In fact, a voter could answer yes or no to either question. The city fixed the error within an hour of learning about it, but absentee and early voting already were under way.


FREE TO GOOD HOME. Westchester County has donated about 150 unneeded computers to 10 local, nonprofit social service agencies. No speed demons, the PCs have Intel 486 or low-end Pentium processors. The county has another 250 PCs ready to donate and is collecting more for future distribution.


TARHEELS MAP IT OUT. Charlotte launched a four-month strategic planning process to develop a citywide geographic information system. The GIS will include information about roads, utility lines and buildings as well as crime and population data. The city has allocated nearly $1 million in its fiscal 2002 budget to build the system.


WETWARE. Two state departments, Tax and Information Technology, adopted LiquidOffice forms software from Cardiff Software Inc. of San Diego. LiquidOffice is written in Extensible Markup Language and uses Adobe Portable Document Format to route forms on the Web. Cardiff officials estimate the software can save between $30 and $150 per transaction compared with paper transactions.


THROUGH A GLASS, QUICKLY. Butler County approved a $2.7 million contract with Normap Inc. of Toledo to install an 86-mile fiber-optic network. The network, to be installed next year, will connect Hamilton, Middletown, West Chester Township and Miami University.


E-KLAHOMA. NIC of Overland Park, Kan., will build and manage Oklahoma's electronic-government portal, set to debut this fall. Oklahoma paid NIC $1.1 million to develop the portal.


BAKER'S MAN. Baker County's one-man information systems shop, run by Bill Lee, is speeding up county services through a combination of Lotus Domino databases and IBM iSeries eServers. The system, at, offers a citizen interface for voter registration, taxes and law enforcement. Recently an anonymous tip to the county's 'most wanted' offenders Web site helped authorities find and arrest an offender.


NOT IN MY BACK YARD NEWS. The Environmental Protection Department launched an e-mail notification service for Web users who want to be alerted to environmental permit applications. Users can visit the department's site, at, and register their e-mail addresses to be notified of applications for air- and water-pollution control facilities, landfills, incinerators, transfer stations, drinking water treatment plants, coal mines, quarries and radiation sources. Users can ask to be notified of new applications in particular jurisdictions and select individual applications to track through the review process.


DRESS: CASUAL. Rhode Islanders just might trade in casual Friday for casual 24-7. Gov. Lincoln Almond said this fall Rhode Islanders will be able to renew their car registration or obtain a business permit from the comfort of their own home computers via the state Web site, at


WILD ABOUT HORRY. Last month Horry County School District officials announced they would use the Demandstar online bid distribution system from Onvia Inc. of Seattle. District officials said the new system will reduce costs and provide opportunities for a wider variety of businesses to bid on school district projects.


AGILE APPS. The state is using Agilera Inc. of Englewood, Colo., to host its human resources and payroll applications using Lawson's Insight financial suite from Lawson Software of St. Paul, Minn. Written in Extensible Markup Language, the Insight applications will be offered over the Web.


THE MIDDLE KINGDOM. The Office of Information Resources has finished a research project on middleware technologies. OIR worked with six other agencies to develop a report on when and how technologies such as Extensible Markup Language should be used. The study team recommended that agencies using XML adopt schema standards rather than the older, harder-to-use document type description standard for describing metadata.


TWO TO TANGO. The Attorney General's Office and the Transportation Department bought $25 million worth of DeskPro EN Series convertible minitower desktop PCs from Compaq Computer Corp., including peripherals and service. Each PC comes with a 733-MHz Intel Celeron processor, 128M of RAM and a 10G hard drive. The agencies will later migrate to Compaq's Evo line of PCs, which come with dual Intel Pentium III Xeon processors and Intel's i840 chip set.


ROLL CALL. After some debate [GCN/State & Local, June 2001, Page 12] Utah lawmakers approved a plan to develop a Web site where citizens could see each state legislator's voting history at a glance. The site will link to the Legislature's Web site at


SCANNER SNAG. Tax commissioner Janet Ancel is beginning to see the light after the interface between the state's 5-year-old Eastman Kodak Co. scanners and IBM Corp. tax software went awry last year. The scanners had to be calibrated, or 'trained,' to read 25 different tax forms, Ancel said. But the department only trained the scanners to recognize a few standard forms. Ancel said the problems have been worked out.


SUPPORTING CHILD SUPPORT. The Social Services Department launched an enhancement to its Web site that provides child support case information to custodial and noncustodial parents. The feature, at, lets parents check their current case and payment information, get child support applications and forms, and find the locations of domestic relations courts and child support directors.


A CAPITAL CAPITOL. Students at Washington Middle School in Olympia are putting the finishing touches on a virtual tour of the 74-year-old Capitol building. Chuck Waiste, tour services coordinator for the state's General Services Administration, asked the students to build a Web site so that students in the eastern part of the state could tour the Capitol online. The virtual tour, when ready, will be available at


POLO PLAYERS. West Virginia's kindergarten through Grade 12 teachers will participate in the Marco Polo project, a Web portal that offers teaching tools for economics, geography, art, math and science. The WorldCom foundation of Clinton, Miss., gave the state a $25,000 grant to fund the project.


JOB OF WORK. The Workforce Development Department launched a Job Order System that allows employers to post job openings on the Internet. Department computer specialists developed the system in-house over two years.


WYLD SIDE. You just never know when a librarian is going to go wild in Wyoming. The Wyoming State Library's new online Internet portal site, at, makes it easier to search the Wyoming Libraries Database (WYLD) from a home PC, said electronic-resources librarian Erin Kinney. The site's simple graphics make it easier to download information with a slower modem, said state librarian Leslie Boughton. 'And we wanted a memorable uniform resource locator,' Boughton said.


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