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Texas Bill Would Strengthen Cloud Push, Chief Data Officer Role, Modernization

Legislation introduced on Friday by Texas State Senator Jane Nelson seeks to strengthen the state’s push to the cloud, the role of the Chief Data Officer, and the state’s IT modernization efforts.

Under the proposed legislation, which would amend existing law, state agencies would be required to consider “cloud computing service options and compatibility with cloud computing services in the development of new information technology software applications.”

State agencies would also be mandated to consider “cloud computing service options, including any security benefits and cost savings associated with purchasing those service options from a cloud computing service provider and from a statewide technology center established by the department, when making purchases for a major information resources project.”

Currently, Texas has a statewide data coordinator–a position that’s set to expire in 2021. Under the new legislation, the position would become permanent and retitled into Chief Data Officer (CDO). The legislation also details expectations of the new CDO role, including improving the control and security of information collected by state agencies, promoting information sharing across agencies, and reducing information collection costs incurred by the state.

The legislation also would mandate that the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) establish a digital transformation guide. The guide is intended to help state agencies modernize their operations and services with respect to electronic data and help agencies convert agency information into electronic data. As part of the modernization effort, DIR may provide agencies with mobile app development assistance, paper document inventory assistance, paperless operational process planning and development; and electronic notification and digital communication between the agency and the public.

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