Take a look at THG's Priority Legislation Page

As the 2018 legislative session gets into full swing, several measures are moving forward with the potential to promote an open, transparent and responsive state government. Transform Hawaii Government (THG) recently launched a new Priority Legislation section on its website as a resource to THG members and like-minded individuals who wish to participate in transforming government

Each bill and resolution on the site aligns with THG’s mission to advocate for and support efforts to improve government business practices through technology. Measures are arranged under several categories: Open Government, Citizen Engagement, Modernizing IT Infrastructure, Business Process Re-engineering, and IT Governance.

Featured bills include Senate Bill 2879, Relating to Education, which requires the state Office of Enterprise Technology Services, in collaboration with the Department of Education (DOE), to establish a working group to study the DOE’s IT infrastructure, operations and services with the intent of increased integration. The latest draft of the bill names a representative from THG to be appointed to a working group that would also consist of the chief information officers of the State of Hawaii, DOE and University of Hawaii, as well as the superintendent of education and DOE chief academic officer, or their designees.

THG supports this bill because it encourages collaboration between ETS and DOE to identify opportunities to reduce or eliminate redundant services and infrastructure. The measure, if enacted, would also facilitate strategic decision-making, with regard to technological platforms, policies and standards, that may further the state’s goals and augment statutorily mandated duties in the areas of cyber security and open data, as outlined in sections 27-43.5 and 27-44, Hawaii Revised Statutes.

Other featured bills include House Bill 2225, Relating to Information Technology, which provides the state chief information officer with full discretion to require independent verification and validation of state IT projects if certain criteria are met. The enhanced authority will enhance statewide IT governance processes, which were launched by the CIO in 2015 and strengthened over subsequent years.

In addition, House Bill 2080 and its companion measure, Senate Bill 2902, Relating to Technology Development, appropriate funds for grants to participants in software application challenges enabling the proofs of concept created during the challenges to be developed into prototypes suitable for deployment in local and state government. These challenges, such as the Hawaii Annual Code Challenge and the Agricultural code challenge (also known as the AGathon), engage the technology development community and state government agencies in collaborative efforts to develop innovative solutions to an array of issues facing our state. Application challenges are intended to generate proofs of concepts but not complete or even prototype products. The additional resources proposed in the bill will help bring to fruition these proofs of concepts and their potential benefits.

Bookmark the Priority Legislation webpage and check back often for the latest status of bills and resolutions, as well as opportunities to make your voice heard.

Three Amigos 2

DLIR’s Three Amigos: Jodie Nakamura, Ryan Mercado and Liam Tobin. Photo courtesy of DLIR.

For lives affected by a workplace injury, time is of the essence to resolve bottlenecks in the historically manual, paper-intensive claims process. Three employees of the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) Disability Compensation Division (DCD) are making progress in enhancing efficiency and in improving the experiences of their end customer which includes employers, insurance carriers and workers injured on the job.

Jodie Nakamura, Ryan Mercado and Liam Tobin — or the “Three Amigos,” as they are known in the division — began the scanning project and helped train their division in utilizing optical character recognition (OCR) technology.

Though scanning paperwork is not groundbreaking on its own, digitization efforts for an organization like the division resulted in both efficiency and in improving the experiences of their end customer. The department maintains a staggering 40,000 active case files and processes more than 22,000 new workers’ compensation claims per year.

Paper work

Thousands of files have been digitized at the state’s disability compensation program. However, they need hardware with capacity for more storage to continue progress.

As a result of the project, the department as a whole was able to cut its clienteles’ hearing wait time in half.

In 2015, the division hired consulting firm Gartner Group to analyze its business procedures.

Gartner’s Disability Compensation Business Process Optimization report identified efficiency issues, bottlenecks, outdated procedures and data sharing challenges. The report also outlined a roadmap to execute the recommended business process changes.

Since then, clear progress was achieved by the Three Amigos; however, due to storage constraints from older technology, the project will be limited until new hardware with additional storage capacity is installed.

“We have worked collaboratively with the Legislature to modernize the Division’s business processes and technology infrastructure,” said DLIR Director Leonard Hoshijo. Still, the state is striving to make government more effective and efficient for our customers, which in this case includes employers, insurance carriers and workers injured on the job.

In 2017, the state Legislature appropriated additional funding to expand the division’s electronic intake of claims and data migration to new hardware. This year, the DLIR is set to post a Request for Proposal to hire a contractor to complete a new Case Management System and will request additional funding for the fiscal year 2019 to complete the work.

As for the “Three Amigos,” all continue to work for the state and have advanced in their division.

Net Neutrality | ETS


Net neutrality protects and promotes a fast, fair and open internet. It prohibits internet service providers from discriminating between content or users. However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to end net neutrality rules on Dec. 13, 2017.

Since the Internet does not distinguish between state boarders, individual states may be unable to directly enforce their own net neutrality laws. But that has not stopped multiple states, including Hawaii, from working to manage the effects on local levels.

An executive order signed by Gov. David Ige took effect on Feb. 5, 2018, directing all state government agencies to contract for internet-related service only with providers who contractually agree to abide by net neutrality principals.

These types of regulations could have a significant impact on many providers as state contracts tend to be large.

A recent poll showed that 83 percent of Americans disapprove of the FCC’s action to repeal net neutrality. Most recently, members of Hawaii’s Congressional delegation joined their U.S. House and Senate colleagues to introduce a measure designed to overturn the FCC decision on net neutrality.

Hawaii legislators have also expressed support for maintaining net neutrality in Hawaii.  This includes House Bill 1995 that, if enacted, would aim to regulates broadband internet service providers to ensure a free and open Internet. The bill also would establish a task force to examine the costs and benefits of creating a state-owned public utility company to provide broadband internet service.

You Are Invited. Again!

THG is proud to partner with Hawaii Open Data in presenting Open Data Day 2018! The public is invited to join open data advocates and users to catch up on recent initiatives happening around Hawaii and beyond.

Invited speakers include R. Brian Black, president and executive director of the Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest, as well as representatives of the state Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism; the Office of Planning’s Statewide GIS Program; and the Campaign Spending Commission.

Seating is limited to about 30 people so sign up early. To reserve your seat, sign up here.

A new information network is putting the collective wisdom of public sector IT agencies within reach of their colleagues and trying to solve some of the big problems that vex government.

by Theo Douglas, Government Technology

Screenshot of Government Digital Transformation Exchange

In this GovTech story, read about a new online portal that aims to boost the innovative process and empower collaboration by creating a place for those working on technologically innovative projects for government to share experiences and best practices in a format adapted for use by all. READ FULL STORY