Montana gets IT word out

Montana officials hosted a forum Wednesday in the rotunda of the state capitol to build support among legislators for information technology initiatives.

The event is the latest in a series of similar efforts by states, including Idaho and Kansas, to increase visibility for IT programs within legislatures.

Montana Information Technology Day showcased 13 projects from eight agencies to demonstrate how citizens benefit from improvements to the state's telecommunications infrastructure, electronic commerce and Web- and intranet-based services, according to state officials. Gov. Judy Martz delivered the keynote address.

With some Democrats making an issue of breakdowns in the Department of Revenue's automated systems during hearings last week, the IT presentation proved timely, said Mary Jo Fox, director of communications for the new Republican governor.

Among the presentation topics were:

    * A public/private effort to convert land ownership information to a digital format (presented by the state Department of Administration).

    * The Sexual and Violent Offender Registry Web site and Criminal Justice Information Network (Department of Justice).

    * A dedicated telecommunications network to help retailers sell lottery tickets (Department of Commerce).

    * The redesigned state Web site, DiscoveringMontana.com, and SummitNet, a public/private partnership to consolidate the government's voice, data and video services into a single statewide network (Department of Administration).

A key goal of the all-day event, which was open to the public, was to show how agencies are collaborating with private IT companies to develop such projects, according to state officials.

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