The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced awards totaling $1.8 billion to 94 projects Wednesday. The projects cover parts of 37 states. Among the largest winners were Motorola, Hughes Network Systems and Windstream Corp.
Advocates of recording say the equipment is a one-time cost that saves millions of dollars in the long run. Court reporters say they ensure accuracy and can produce transcripts faster. Several states have given the green light to electronics in at least some of their courtrooms, including Kentucky, Utah and Vermont. In California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed switching from humans to machines. Iowa is studying the possibility, too.
An analysis by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology says that similarities in many states' eligibility and enrollment data for health and social programs could form the basis for sharing between health insurance exchanges. Dr. Doug Fridsma, acting director of ONC's office of standards and interoperability, said the study of 10 states' programs found a significant amount of common ground on basic data elements like name, address and gender, for example.
An agreement between judges in Sacramento and California's Administrative Office of the Courts would let the city run its own servers if the state system can't get them running satisfactorily on the larger system. The state Court Case Management System has been criticized for cost overruns, delays and management problems.