(This story is written by Missourinet Capitol correspondent Waverly Colville)
State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, is making an effort to improve technology in Missouri state government through a bill she presented last week to the Senate Government Reform Committee in Jefferson City.
Nasheed is proposing a central database that holds all data from state agencies by October 1, 2019, along with new Capitol security hardware and software and new video conferencing technology.
“This is a concept that is out-of-the-box thinking,” Sen. Nasheed testifies. “A lot of the times we don’t get the opportunity to run back and forth in our districts and here to be able to go to meetings. This way you can be in the comfort of your own office and you can live-stream the video at one of your school board meetings, at one of your meetings at city hall.”
These changes would cost an estimated $40 million in the first year, but supporters hope to save money in the long-term.
These improvements will save time and money for representatives who have to travel far for work because they would be able to use high-tech video conferencing to call into meetings, Sen. Nasheed testified. The data compilation will also make it easier for government agencies to communicate and find answers quicker.
However, witnesses from the Missouri Bar and the Missouri Attorney General’s Office worry about confidential data and the disruption of transferring all the data to this new system.
Daniel Hartman from Attorney General Josh Hawley’s office testified during the hearing, for informational purposes.
“Of course the Attorney General’s Office has a lot of data that is privileged, we have attorney-client privilege data and we would just want that to have a conversation about how that can be protected,” Hartman testifies.
During the hearing, Eric Jennings from the Board of Governors of the Missouri Bar spoke against the bill because of confidentiality concerns and the trouble he says it would take to transition to this new system.
Richard McIntosh, a representative for World Wide Technologies, testified for Nasheed’s bill, saying it drives innovation and makes people more efficient.
The Senate committee has not voted yet.