Office of Enterprise Technology proposed by Senator
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Office of Enterprise Technology proposed by Senator

Date: January 29, 2007
By: Matt Tilden
State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - A bill that would create a "department of computer geeks" within the Missouri state government has been reintroduced.  But the bill's sponsor, the Senate's self-proclaimed technology geek, is pessimistic about its chances of passing.

The Senate Financial Committee heard a proposal Monday by Sen. Matt Bartle, R-Lee's Summit, to create an Office of Enterprise Technology in Missouri and a state chief information officer to oversee the department.  The new department would oversee developing new technologies, evaluating the efficiency of current resources, and maintaining the security of the state's technology services.

Bartle said he hopes that the new office would help departments within the state government to work together in creating uniformity in dealing with technological issues.  The proposed office would serve as a cabinet-like position within the Office of Administration. 

Bartle cited the technological advances of the private sector as a reason for his proposal and said that the state has been slow in realizing the vast potential in harnessing information technology.  "What's making this country so wealthy, is the advances and efficiency on information systems," Bartle said. 

Bartle proposed identical legislation during last year's legislative period, but the bill did not make it out of committee.  He said that while he understands that the bill is not high on the list of priorities for the Senate this year, he hopes that there will at least be a debate on the floor of the Senate so that the press and other public officials can bring the issue  to the public. 

"I'm not even going to ask you to move this bill out, because you only have very few slots, but if you see a way that you can take the concept here and move it with something you are moving, I would be interested in at least having the debate on the floor."