New Hampshire preps for e-gov

With an information technology report just finished and its state Web portal redesigned, New Hampshire soon will tackle a series of e-government initiatives.

Pamela Walsh, spokeswoman for Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, said the new portal (www.state.nh.us) is easier for citizens to use because it's organized by services rather than agencies. Walsh said along with the portal, the state unveiled another Web site (www.nheconomy.com) geared at the business community.

Walsh said a 26-member commission — composed of business, education, community and state agency representatives appointed by Shaheen — recommended expanding online state services. The group also looked into how citizens can have access to digital services while safeguarding their privacy.

As a result, Walsh said the state would introduce a number on electronic services this summer, including online purchasing of hunting and fishing licenses; a vital records database of birth, death and marriage certificates; and a Department of Environmental Services initiative to provide information on 20,000 regulated facilities and sites.

She said Shaheen also wants to create a $1 million venture fund so that state agencies could apply for e-government projects. An Information Technology Advisory Council would coordinate the effort and oversee implementation of other commission recommendations, which include:

    * Developing statewide policies and methods for topics such as security, payments, digital signatures and data retrieval.

    * Sharing best practices, including forming a technical resource center to be a "locus" of Internet expertise to ensure staff is current on practices and activities.

    * Being more proactive on the portal by preparing annual reports on information quality.

    * Creating and supporting a privacy policy for all e-government activities to be monitored by a single organization; and educate the public and state employees about privacy issues and efforts.

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