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Senate Interim Committee on Administration
Charges

Study the current use of technology by the Texas Senate and conduct a needs assessment to identify further use of appropriate technologies.

Review the use of technology by legislative bodies in other states and identify model systems that would be of benefit to the Texas Senate.

Make recommendations regarding the use of technology to support the members of the Senate in fulfilling their responsibilities.

Make recommendations on the application of technology to the legislative process including Senate floor functions.
Background

Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock issued a charge to the Senate Administration Committee to study and make recommendations regarding the use of advanced technology to help the Texas Senate do its work more effectively. The Administration Committee submitted its final report in May of 1996 in order to allow sufficient time for implementation of the recommendations prior to the 75th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature.
Recommendations

  • Maintain a reliable and stable technology platform. The committee directed the council to maintain state-of-the-art computer technology and to provide "point and click" versions of existing applications.

  • Create a Senate Technology Center to study and test technology options for the Senate in the future. Estimated cost of $250,000 for FY 96 for equipment and $60,000 for staffing.

  • Use OS/2 Warp for the 75th Legislature. Estimated cost of $304,678 for FY 96 for equipment.

  • Adopt the implementation of PerfectOffice for Windows and GroupWise for Windows for the 75th Legislature. Estimated cost of $275,103 for FY 96 for equipment.

  • Provide on-line fax capability. Estimated cost of $22,495 for equipment.

  • Provide optional automated bill book capability to allow senators on the Senate floor to view their bill books electronically. Total cost if all options are included and equipment is purchased: $184,050. Total FY 96 cost if all options are included and equipment is leased: $74,885.

  • Provide floor amendment system. The system would allow senators on the Senate floor to view electronic copies of floor amendments. Cost estimates range from $225,000 to $500,000 for FY 96 for hardware and development.

  • Provide mobile access in the Senate Chamber and Senate Committee Rooms. Estimated cost of $300 for installation of each data jack and $3,000 for each Lexmark printer.

  • Provide hardware so that each staff person has Access to a PC. Estimated cost of $234,504 for equipment.

  • Use the existing token-ring network.

  • Keep the current LAN infrastructure.

  • Provide access to the Capitol LAN for district office PCs. Estimated cost of $931,393 for FY96 for equipment and $164,992 for staffing.

  • Provide PC-based video conferencing. Estimated cost of $36,756 for equipment.

  • Provide color print capability. Estimated cost of $23,828 for equipment.

  • Provide ability to scan and view documents. Estimated cost of $369 for equipment.

  • Provide expanded training to Senate staff.

  • Provide enhanced support for Senate staff. Estimated cost of $108,992 for staffing.

  • Authorize the donation of surplus and salvage equipment to public schools.

  • Fund recommendations from Texas Legislative Council appropriations.