From the Office of State Senator John Carona

For Immediate Release
March 18, 2003
CONTACT: Paul Reyes, (512) 463-0116

SENATOR CARONA PROPOSES COST-SAVING LEGISLATION FOR TEXAS AGENCIES

State Senator John Carona (R-Dallas) has filed a bill designed to decrease expenditures on computing in the Texas state government. Recognizing that the State's procurement process requires bidding which favors proprietary software, SB 1579 opens the door to cost savings through exploitation of efficient technologies unavailable in the past.

"It is time to reassess computer arrangements for the State of Texas, especially the rising costs for computer licensing of software and maintenance of information technology systems in light of the current budget shortfall," said Senator Carona.

Currently, most state agencies rely on proprietary software, which incurs a considerable cost through licensing fees and maintenance. Copyright laws on the software restrict its use and modification, preventing agencies from adapting the software to their needs.

SB 1579 is designed to mitigate these costs by leveling the playing field between proprietary software and Open Source Software (OSS) products. Once informed about the availability of OSS, the bill would allow the state government to choose products on a "value-for-money basis," rather than being limited to traditional products on the market.

Senator Carona said his practical and innovative proposal was recommended by a constituent in private industry. "It has come to my attention that Open Source Software is the flexible, cost-saving solution we need to explore," said the author. "Through the implementation of Open Source Software we may lower our information technology costs, increase the reliability and security of our systems, improve service to citizens and produce much needed economic opportunities."

Several government agencies currently utilize OSS products, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the City of St. Louis, and the City of Los Angeles.

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