Senator wants to create oversight of new technology

A Lee’s Summit senator’s bill would create a ‘department of computer geeks.’
Wednesday, January 31, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:56 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY — A bill that would create a “department of computer geeks” within the Missouri state government has been reintroduced.

But the bill’s sponsor, the Senate’s self-proclaimed technology geek, is pessimistic about its chances of passing.

The Senate Financial Committee heard a proposal Monday by Sen. Matt Bartle, R-Lee’s Summit, to create an Office of Enterprise Technology in Missouri and a state chief information officer to oversee it. It would also serve as a Cabinet-like position within the Office of Administration.

The office would oversee developing new technologies, evaluate the efficiency of current resources and maintain the security of the state’s technology services.

Bartle said he hopes that the new office would help departments within the state government to work together in dealing with technological issues.

Bartle cited the technological advances of the private sector as a reason for his proposal and said that the state has been slow in realizing the vast potential in harnessing information technology.

“What’s making this country so wealthy is the advances and efficiency of information systems,” Bartle said.

Bartle proposed identical legislation during last year’s legislative period, but the bill did not make it out of committee. While Bartle understands that the bill is not high on the list of priorities for the Senate, he hopes that there will at least be a debate on the Senate floor this year so that the issue can be brought to the attention of the public.

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