We’re finishing our third week of the legislative session. This week was especially rewarding as I got to meet with lots of groups from our area, and am working on legislation to prevent future technological mishaps by the state.
On Thursday, I took part in a press conference to introduce legislation to reform the state’s information technology agency, MN.IT. Following the failed rollout of the new licensing system, MNLARS, my bill would require MN.IT to search for commercially available solutions before creating software themselves.
Minnesotans are tech savvy -- they use technology to easily interact with large organizations, both private and public, and they expect this same ease-of-use and dependability when utilizing software created by the state. They are rightfully frustrated – and frankly baffled – by repeated problems with the state's technological systems.
Under the proposed legislation, MN.IT must identify third-party providers or a commercially available solution that could be customized for Minnesota’s needs before building a new system from scratch. If no available solution exists, then MN.IT can move forward with the creation of their own enterprise software only after legislative funding has been established before they start. This creates greater financial accountability for Minnesota taxpayers.
New software is something the state of Minnesota will need on an ongoing basis. In order to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely, this bill creates a process and procedure around how software is purchased or created. MNLARS is a perfect example of why we need common sense reforms to guarantee the state is delivering the best, most affordable product to Minnesotans.
This is a reasonable solution to prevent problems going forward, and one I would expect Governor Dayton to support this session.
High School Page
Thanks to Carly Hilgers of Waconia for taking part in the High School Page Program this week. This is an amazing opportunity where high school juniors come to the Capitol to assist in committee hearings, meet with legislators, and help out during floor sessions. Having known her family for years, it was great hosting Carly at the Capitol and learning about her interest in government. I’m excited to see that the future is in good hands with young folks like Carly leading the way.
Billy Graham Memorial
As you know, we lost a great leader and a great man as the Rev. Billy Graham passed away recently. Like so many, Billy Graham had an enormous influence on my faith and beliefs. To honor his memory, I joined other legislators to read a resolution for Rev. Graham. You can watch that video here.
Please Contact Me
I was able to make it to the Carver City Council meeting during the snowstorm on Monday. As a former mayor, I know the value our local governments bring to our cities. I’ll continue to try to make it to our local meetings as the legislative session allows.
If we haven’t gotten in touch at a local meeting or in St. Paul, please call or email to set up a time we can chat. I’m here to serve you, and want to know your opinion on important issues.
Have a great weekend,