HCR 94 hearing

Inefficiency translates to lost time, dollars and increased frustration for small businesses. That includes the time and effort it takes to extract data sets from government agencies.

State legislators appear to agree that it is time for the state to formally adopted a statewide strategic plan for information technology projects, especially when hundreds of millions of dollars are invested in modernizing and maintaining the state’s multitude of IT systems each year.

HCR 94 and SCR 42 call for the development of a state IT strategic plan to include data goals and objectives. THG strongly supports these resolutions and agrees that the commitment of state leadership to strategic information technology transformation over the long term is essential to the government’s ability to successfully leverage technology toward improving services for Hawaii’s residents and businesses.

HCR 94 was recently heard by the House Committee on Labor and Public Employment, which received strong support from the community and no opposition.  The resolution passed unanimously and moved on to the finance committee where it awaits a hearing date.

“… many states and major municipalities across the United States have adopted open data driven policies that require government agencies to collect and publish data, as well as promote data collection and sharing in the private sector, in recognition that access to empirical data is critical to providing decision makers with the information they need to make informed decisions in the interest of citizens …” —  HCR 94 / SCR 42

While progress has been made since the Legislature established the position of the State of Hawai‘i Chief Information Officer in 2010, a long-term IT strategic plan has yet to be adopted. Such a plan is necessary to:

  • Improve the delivery of programs and services to citizens, businesses and within state government;
  • Maximize our state’s potential for greater accountability, efficiency, and transparency in the use of taxpayer dollars;
  • Best secure protected data and critical infrastructure; and
  • Sufficiently empower our state’s workforce to meet the demands of an increasingly technology-dependent workplace.

Further, as the resolutions recognize, many states across the nation have adopted open data-driven policies that require agencies to collect, maintain and make accessible, where permissible, a variety of data and information to ensure decision-makers have the information they need to make informed decisions in shaping the future of our state. However, our state’s data remains decentralized, limiting the opportunities for integration and achieving data goals.

THG urges coalition members and other like-minded individuals to express their support of these measures as they move forward. Helpful tips on submitting your own testimony are available are THG’s 2018 Priority Legislation webpage.

Office of Facilities uses data-driven cooling strategy

Outdoor weather station Photo: Hawaii Department of Education

Weather station sites were selected based on locations where microclimates such as urban development and geography may impact on the overall temperature. Photo: Hawaii Department of Education

 

When soaring temperatures threatened the effectiveness of learning environments across the state, the Hawaii Department of Education’s (DOE) budgetary commitment to cool Hawaii’s schools was a welcomed reprieve from the sweltering heat.

While air conditioners were the top-of-mind solution for the general public, nuances like budgetary constraints, aging infrastructure and an annual electricity bill of nearly $47 million in 2017 presented challenges. The DOE’s Office of Facilities and Support Services (OFSS) knew it had some homework to do to keep temperatures comfortable without incurring a hefty uptick in DOE’s net energy load.

DOE Utilities Budget | Photo: Hawaii Department of Education

Electricity makes up the bulk of DOE’s utility budget. Click on the photo to enlarge the picture. Photo: Hawaii Department of Education

According to DOE’s website, “Air conditioning isn’t always the best option — many aging school facilities do not have the capacity to support it, nor can the state afford to install and run AC at all DOE schools statewide. The Department’s facilities team analyzes each school and determines an approach that makes the most sense weighing all factors.”

Working in collaboration with the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute and MKThink, a sustainable architectural design company, OFSS used aggregate data points from each school to guide their heat abatement strategies.

As part of its Heat Abatement Program, DOE installed solar powered outdoor weather stations as well as 62 indoor monitors to track temperatures and environmental data in classrooms statewide in 2017.

http://transformhawaiigov.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/2018-thermal-comfort-website-1.jpg

This year, HIDOE launched its findings from both indoor and outdoor weather stations on the DOE Thermal Comfort website. The site publishes data from schools across the state every thirty minutes.

“The public now has the opportunity to view the environmental conditions we monitor when determining the best cooling method for a classroom,” said Dann Carlson, OFSS assistant superintendent.

The department applies both active and passive energy efficient solutions to reduce heat using a smaller carbon footprint. DOE utilized photovoltaic panels as well as battery storage technology to encourage net-zero power usage for its air-conditioned facilities. Meanwhile, passive strategies include a reduction in the amount of sun-exposed asphalt, which has been known to retain up to 95 percent of heat by installing shade structures, and application of reflective roof coating on portables as well as utilizing ceiling and duct ventilation to push residual heat out of classrooms.

 

http://transformhawaiigov.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Cool-Strategies.png

Click to enlarge the photo. Photo: DOE Thermal Comfort Portal

 

To date, the $100 million appropriated by the Hawaii State Legislature in its capital improvement projects budget has been implemented to cool nearly 1,300 classrooms with the department’s continuing efforts to prioritize schools that need it most.

See which schools are on the current priority list at http://www.hawaiipublicschools.org/ConnectWithUs/Organization/SchoolFacilities/Pages/Heat-Abatement.aspx

Kalani High School team among top 10 contenders

Kalani High School sign

 

In an effort to stimulate interest in the growing cybersecurity sector, the SANS Institute launched Girls Go CyberStart, a national online competition exclusively for high school girls.

The new young women’s competition peaked interest in rudimentary cybersecurity areas such as cryptography, web attacks and digital forensics through a series of engaging puzzles and fun logic challenges.

Girls Go Cyber Start teaser challenge

A teaser challenge embedded in a QR code, this screenshot is an example of puzzles teams had to work together to solve in the competition. Photo: CyberStart US.

One hundred and eighteen local teams made up of 329 Hawaii students participated in the games in late February. Transform Hawaii Government congratulates the eight teams who advanced to the top one hundred and extends special recognition to the Kalani High School “Idalings” who placed in the top 10.

Girls Go CyberStart’s format was based on the successful CyberStart pilot project in 2017. Last year, more than 300 Hawaii participants faced off against 3,500 other students from 17 different states during CyberStart, with the Aloha State providing the largest amount of participants per capita.

Hawaii joins the nation in a shortage of qualified cybersecurity experts. While the IT sector has made progress in inclusivity, the tech labor force remains a male dominated industry.

“The nation desperately needs more highly-skilled cyber professionals, and we have evidence that CyberStart improves the quality of individuals entering the cybersecurity field,” said Alan Paller, SANS director of research, in a press release. Further, the two best cyber intrusion analysts I have ever met were named Vicki and Judy, yet women are woefully underrepresented in the technical side of cybersecurity. By opening CyberStart to thousands of high school girls we hope to help the nation identify the next generation of talented people who will excel in this critical field.”

Earlier this month, several states celebrated Open Data Day, an observance seeking to bring awareness on the benefits of information access to both government agencies and its citizens to encourage its adaption in civil society.

Municipalities and states invested staff time along with hundreds of thousands of dollars in the effort to curate and publish data for the sake of better accountability over the last decade. Large quantities of available datasets address the goals of information accessibility. However, low use of data portals provoked some governments to go a step further by making the information easy to understand for enhanced civic engagement.

Open Data Objectives | Photo: hawaiiweblog.com

Photo: hawaiiweblog.com

In this story, Government Technology takes a look at the outcomes stemming from these initiatives. Read More at http://www.govtech.com/data/Are-Open-Data-Efforts-Working.html

REGISTRATION

To begin the registration process, go to the Legislature webpage: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/login/login.aspx

On the web page you will see three boxes:

Top box: Sign in to the Hawaii Legislature

Second box down: Help!

Third box down: NOTE: An account is required in order to submit online testimony.

In the third box, the first paragraph reads:

Creating an account for the Legislature’s website is quick and simple!

If you have not created an account, please click here to register.

Click on the “here” link and you will be taken to a page to enter the required registration info. In the organization blank, if you are not representing an organization, you can skip that box. When you finish that process and submit the information, you will be sent an email containing a link you must click on to complete the registration process.

 

WEBSITE TESTIMONY SUBMITTAL

Submitting testimony online

Submit Testimony screenshotAfter completing the registration process, return to the login page and click on the icon with the envelope, labeled “submit testimony.”

When you enter the bill number (e.g., HB134) and hit the enter key, the following categories will appear

 

Committee      Room   Date/Time

along with a link labeled View Notice (you don’t need to click this, unless you want to email testimony)

Scroll down past the Committee, Room, Date/Time section to the “Enter Information” section and click on the appropriate buttons, then type your testimony into the Additional Comments box.

 

EMAILING TESTIMONY

If you decide to email your testimony, click on the View Notice link, look for the committee hearing the bill and use the email address listed (e.g., WAMtestimony@capitol.hawaii.gov). In your email, be sure to include the following:

  • Testifier’s name and, if affiliated with an organization, position/title and organization;
  • The Committee(s) to which the comments are directed;
  • The date, time and location of the hearing (e.g. conference room number); and
  • Bill or Resolution (Measure) number.

Continuing tax system modernization must remain atop state’s priority list.

By Christine Sakuda

Honolulu Civil Beat (Community Voice) – Feb. 22, 2018
Original Story: http://www.civilbeat.org/2018/02/progress-made-on-improving-hawaiis-revenue-engine/

Amid news stories about federal government shutdowns and false missile alerts, one the state’s most ambitious modernization initiatives, Tax System Modernization, has not been grabbing headlines. But it is proceeding and, apparently, succeeding, despite its low profile of late.

At the end of March, the door will close on options to file business taxes via the state’s legacy (i.e., old) tax-filing site. But that’s a good thing, since that means those services will have been successfully moved to the state’s new tax filing portal, Hawaii Tax Online.

Over the course of five rollouts, each making new functions available, the majority of tax services have been migrated to Hawaii Tax Online. “Rollout 3” was completed last summer and included services for Corporate Income, Franchise, Public Service Company and Withholding filers. This followed the previous two rollouts that included General Excise, Transient Accommodation and other types of taxes.

Electronic Filing ‘Inevitable’

The flicking of the off-switch for those services on the old site — with little fanfare or controversy — will provide evidence the rollout succeeded.

In fact, thanks to the newly launched electronic filing capability for business filers, the Hawaii Legislature can consider bills like Senate Bill 2822, which authorizes the Department of Taxation to require certain taxpayers to file digital returns exclusively, subject to a few exceptions.

Yes, some business users may be reluctant to go paperless, but such progress is inevitable as electronic filing becomes the norm at both the state and federal levels. In order for this to be successful, the Tax Department has acknowledged it also needs to beef up its help-desk support to prepare for the influx in calls. After all, customer interaction with new technology can be embraced with a little bit of handholding.

Legislators should be applauded for exploring all opportunities to nudge taxpayers toward using the capabilities of the new system. In addition to maximizing the state’s return on investment, business filers over the long-term will realize the cost-efficiencies associated with filing electronically. SB 2822 provides a mechanism for the tax department to encourage those with the best reasons to file electronically to be first users of the system and demonstrate its effectiveness.

Keep Up Momentum

With similar functionality scheduled to “go live” for individual filers during the next rollout, the Tax System Modernization must remain a state priority. Whether the project continues now depends on the approval of the Legislature.

In the governor’s supplemental budget proposal submitted in December, the administration is asking for an additional $16.5 million in capital improvement project funds to cover the completion of the functional requirements scheduled for next fiscal year (FY19) as well as the warranty period (FY20). Transform Hawaii Government supports this request to keep the momentum of the project moving on its current schedule.

The project remains a worthy investment. A modern, effective and efficient state tax collection system is what Hawaii taxpayers — all taxpayers — expect and deserve.

But it is critical that legitimate concerns raised by lawmakers about a range of problems be addressed; otherwise, the Legislature would be justified in withholding the funds as it did during the last legislative session. Going into the 2018 session, the administration must take steps to provide additional reassurance that the project is delivering functionality as intended.

‘Unprecedented Action’

Providing the state chief information officer with greater oversight of technological aspects of the project in July 2017 was a good first step.The CIO took the unprecedented action of publicly posting the project’s Independent Validation and Verification reports, which are quarterly progress assessments by a third-party contractor.

Many of the issues involving the former IVV vendor came to light and were addressed as a result of that direct involvement by the state’s top technology official and his commitment to full transparency. That IVV contract ended as a result.

With greater transparency established and a new tax director in place, the Department of Taxation is now in a position to take back the lead role. I am told that the tax department is working with the CIO’s office to procure a new IVV vendor, which will ensure the continuation of these periodic third-party assessments.

While the project represents an ambitious initiative, it also stands out as one of the most necessary. The project is making progress in giving the state a more robust revenue engine and the technology needed to support it. Ultimately, it is a worthy investment, as a modern tax collection system delivers what Hawaii taxpayers expect and deserve.

Such thoughts are sure to be top of mind as taxpayers file this season.

Transform Hawaii Government was established to promote an open, transparent, and responsive Hawaii government. The nonprofit organization advocates improving government business practices through technology to ensure government employees, residents and businesses have convenient and secure access to reliable information and data on demand.

Our goal is to have government services streamlined, integrated and delivered in ways that exceed the expectations of the public and the needs of Hawaii businesses. For more information, visit transformhawaiigov.org.

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.