Legislators send HB531 to the governor for signature

May 13, 2019

By Transform Hawaii Government

Seven years ago, most people still looked skyward when you mentioned “the Cloud.”

Yet, 2012 was the last time the State of Hawaii formally updated its IT strategic plan to modernize (and optimize) government processes and technology. Its 1,432 pages delivered an encyclopedic government plan promising “a future state that includes faster, better, and easier access to government information and services.”

However, technology is constantly evolving, necessitating periodic updates to information and technology strategies intended to ensure that our state systems don’t suddenly fail due to old age and no support, and that the state maximizes modern resources in the delivery of services, information and data to public- and private-sector leaders, individual citizens and businesses.

Time for an update

This year, by passing House Bill 531 HD1 SD1, legislators sent the message that it is time to refresh that plan, and chart the course to improve the delivery of information and services to all of us who work with and rely on our state government. If enacted, HB531 will require the state chief information officer and the Office of Enterprise Technology Services to update the plan every four years and submit the updated plan to the governor and the Legislature.

As THG testified during session, requiring the plan to be regularly refreshed will promote continuity of services, regardless of transitions from one governor’s administration to another, in the use and application of technology and modern processes to shape the future of government services and data in Hawai‘i.

For introducing the bill and their early support, THG is grateful to Representatives Nakashima, Belatti, Ichiyama, Johanson, Kitagawa, Luke, McKelvey, Morikawa, Quinlan and Yamashita. Special thanks go to Senators Keohokalole, English, Fevella and Wakai for introducing SB219, an unofficial companion of the bill. Also instrumental was House and Senate leadership, as well as Conferees Nakashima, Matsumoto, Inuoye and Moriwaki for positioning HB531 for the final floor vote.

New CIO’s support

It is highly encouraging that new Chief Information Officer Douglas Murdock served on a working group last year to begin updating the state IT strategic plan, and since his appointment this year has expressed support for its completion. CIO Murdock’s leadership will be critical not only to maintaining progress in implementing state systems, but also assessing how well those systems are being used and planning for Hawaii’s ever-evolving technological future.

The commitment of state leadership to strategic business process and IT transformation over the long term is essential to successfully harnessing the power of technology. The benefits include increased service quality and satisfaction for Hawaii’s citizens and businesses across all islands; empowering the state workforce so they are able to compete within a 21st Century economy with living wages; securing and protecting citizens’ data and privacy; and promoting cost-efficiency, effectiveness and transparency in the use of taxpayer funds.

Data bills to live another day

While other bills to establish a chief data officer and data taskforce within the state did not pass this session, THG’s commitment to enhancing data governance will not falter. Such bills are sure to return, as accurate, well-managed and maintained data is essential to providing information to decision-makers, both within and external of government, so they are able to make informed decisions. THG will keep its coalition informed of future opportunities to advocate for progress in this area.

In the meantime, attention will focus on urging the governor to join legislators and our coalition to enact HB531 as he considers hundreds of bills for signature.