Ask any American about their last trip to a government office and it's nearly guaranteed that you'd hear about long waits, inefficient processes, slow computers, and unpleasant staff. These issues are so prevalent that they're often satirized in our media. While some individual states have made strides by investing in better training and moving some services online, the problem is far from solved. Now, California senator and presidential candidate Kamala Harris wants to improve government tech system-wide with her new Digital Service Act bill. This bill is aimed to provide funding for state and local governments to hire the necessary talent to overhaul and improve their systems.
"Americans deserve a government that works for them and that just plain works," Harris, a Democrat from California, said in a release. "We must do more to empower our state and local governments to tap into the power of technology to provide seamless, cost-effective services for the 21st century. The Digital Service Act will help harness top talent for the government, save taxpayer dollars and put the power of technology to work on behalf of the American people."
Specifically, this bill would provide $50m a year for these efforts, plus an additional $15m would fund grants for government agencies to upgrade systems by September 2022. Agencies would be required to report on their progress at that time, and that data would be compiled into a report to be presented to Congress. The grants come with the caveat that at least half of the funds be used to hire talent, not purchase products.
Perhaps with the improvements this bill could bring about your next trip to the DMV might not be so bad after all.
This article was based on a March 14, 2019 CNet article by Marrian Zhou