Arkansas to get CIO post

In the legislative session that wrapped this month, the Arkansas General Assembly passed technology bills that will create a chief information officer, establish a new Internet law for schools and set electronic procurement standards.

Gov. Mike Huckabee lobbied for many of the technology initiatives, clearing the way for the development of more state electronic government services, spokesman Jim Harris said. At the center of the initiatives is the creation of a CIO post and a CIO council (Act 1042) whose members will be appointed by the governor.

The CIO would have the responsibility to create and publicize information technology policy, standards and guidelines; oversee development of legislation and rules affecting electronic records management and retention, privacy and security issues; and develop IT security policy for agencies.

The CIO council would advise the CIO in developing policies and procedures and help coordinate and prioritize IT projects. The new law also creates the Information Technology Oversight Committee to advise the CIO on the allocation of state IT resources.

Other technology bills enacted during the session, which ended April 13, include:

    * Requiring Internet filters for public school libraries and public libraries (Act 1533).

    * Providing funds and guidelines for the Arkansas Wireless Information Network workgroup as it develops a statewide radio system (Acts 818 and 746).

    * Establishing the state Integrated Justice Information Systems Coordinating Council to review, evaluate and make recommendations to improve existing justice information systems (Act 1272).

    * Requiring state agencies to develop policies on Internet usage (Act 1287).

    * Adopting the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act that establishes the legal validity of electronic records, contracts and signatures, among other things (Act 905).

    * Changing state procurement laws to make electronic purchasing simpler for state agencies (Act 1237).

    * Establishing and funding a Geographic Information Office to create a state land database as an economic development tool (Acts 1249 and 1250).

A proposed bill (H.B. 2500) to create an Arkansas Infrastructure Technology Fund to study the savings through applying IT programs has passed both houses and awaits signature by the governor, which is expected.

To view text of any new legislation, enter the act number into the General Assembly search engine.

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