State of technology update

Montana: Gov. Judy Martz

In her first State of the State address, Martz touched on several areas in which government is using information technology better. She praised the $26-million restoration of the capitol, which included wiring the building to handle modern telecommunications and computer network requirements. The new infrastructure makes it possible for legislators to use the Legislative Automated Workflow System and enables the public to track proceedings online, she said.

She also said tax credits provided in the Advanced Telecommunications Infrastructure Act, passed in the last legislative session, are helping to bring high-speed Internet access to remote communities. "Elimination of geography as a business issue means more and better jobs for Montanans statewide," she said in her Jan. 25 address. Martz said she also plans to continue development of the Criminal Justice Information System. "Sharing that information between agencies, between branches of government, will score a major victory for public safety," she said.

As for electronic government, Martz said Montana needs to make sure new services are well- publicized so that residents can take advantage of them.

Ohio: Gov. Bob Taft

Although agencies are being asked to reduce spending by as much as 4 percent, Ohio will continue to invest money in high-technology economic development and education, Taft said in his Jan. 24 speech. The slowing economy only reinforces the need to foster new businesses, he said.

Taft proposed three ways to spur growth in the technology industry: Spend $40 million to support research and development in biotechnology, nanotechnology and information technology; give new high-tech firms a three-year break on taxes; and fund the Appalachian New Economy Partnership to increase IT skills and to provide assistance for start-up companies in the region.

Ohio also must continue to invest in education to ensure that graduates have the skills they need to compete in the workforce, he said. More than 50 percent of new spending will be earmarked for education. Taft wants to use technology to expand resources for students and teachers. A plan calls for expanding students' access to online Advanced Placement courses in districts where AP courses are not otherwise available.

Texas: Gov. Rick Perry

In his Jan. 24 speech, Perry recommended creating a technology scholarship to increase the number of computer science and engineering graduates and reduce the shortage of skilled technology workers.

Perry also said he wanted to increase the allotment for technology in public schools by $35 per student "so more students can learn their lessons using the tools of tomorrow." He cited William B. Travis High School, a school on the south side of Austin with a large minority enrollment. Through the work of a technology coordinator and corporate sponsors, the school gives students access to wireless Internet, multimedia and teleproduction services.

"By transforming education through technology, learning has become more fun and interesting, stimulating the intellectual curiosity of the students and advancing the idea that life is full of limitless possibilities," Perry said.


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