IT bills moving through Congress

IT bills moving through Congress

Contractor employees are one step closer to being able to telecommute while working for the federal government. The House yesterday passed the Freedom to Telecommute Act of 2002 by a vote of 421-0.

The bill (HR 3924), sponsored by Reps. Dan Burton (R-Ind.), chairman of the Government Reform Committee, and Tom Davis (R-Va.), chairman of the Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology and Procurement Policy, would prohibit agencies from penalizing contractors who promote telecommuting.

'The subcommittee has been encouraging the development and promotion of telecommuting policies in the federal government,' Davis said. 'The federal government should be a telecommuting leader. Unfortunately, federal agencies have been reluctant to embrace the concept. It's time for federal managers to shift their focus from process-oriented performance measurements to results-driven measurements.'

When contractors use telecommuting, it exposes agencies to the practice and could promote it within government, Davis said.

The bill was sent to the Senate for consideration.

In other legislative news, Sens. George Allen (R-Va.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) yesterday introduced legislation to create a force of technology workers who could be called on in times of emergency, similar to the National Guard.

The Science and Technology Emergency Mobilization Act lets technology experts volunteer their expertise and equipment to prevent or respond to terrorist attacks and other disasters that disable technology and communications systems.

The bill was referred to the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Rep. Sherwood L. Boehlert (R-N.Y.) plans to introduce similar legislation in the House.

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