Maryland Offers Y2K Status Report, Juggles Liability Legislation

Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening today will brief state and local emergency officials, cabinet members and representatives from utilities and hospitals on the state's Year 2000 readiness. The briefing will be held at 2 p.m. at the State Highway Administration Operations Center near Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

Glendening will give specifics on Maryland's status in its Year 2000 plan, including what percentage of systems are Year 2000-compliant and which systems failed their tests, and he will outline what types of backup systems are in place to handle Year 2000 failures. He also will announce a toll-free Year 2000 hot line for citizens to call to get their millennium bug questions answered.

Just last week, the Governor vetoed legislation that would have provided protection for businesses from liability for damages, injuries or deaths caused by Year 2000 computer systems failures.

The bill, known as the Year 2000 Commerce Protection Act, would have protected businesses that made a good faith effort to identify and remedy Year 2000-compliance problems.

Glendening, who called the bill "radical," said he could not support legislation that protects businesses at the expense of citizens when such failures lead to injury or death. However, the governor said he intends to sign a similar bill (HB 901) that would grant liability protection to state and local government agencies. This bill includes exemptions for personal injury and wrongful death cases.

In other state information technology developments, Maryland's Department of Transportation awarded a $1 million contract to DataSource Inc. to provide Year 2000 inventory, assessment and remediation support for 300 of the agency's systems. The Silver Spring, Md.-based company will test and fix MDOT's client/server and PC-based systems and databases to prevent interruptions to mission-critical systems due to Year 2000 non-compliance.

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