E-Government Bill Heads To Full Senate

WASHINGTON – The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee unanimously approved a proposal    authored by Chairman Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., and Ranking Member Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., that would help bring the federal government more fully into the electronic age by improving citizen access to government information and services.

                The amendment, in the form of a substitute to the E-Government Act of 2001, (S.803), would maximize the organization, efficiency, accessibility and quantity of the federal government?s online resources, while reducing overall cost.

                 ?Americans have every right to expect the same 24-7 access to government information and services now available to them from the private sector,? Lieberman said.  ?The hope is that electronic government will improve the delivery of information and services to the public, improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government, and ultimately, transform the way government operates.?

                “The bill we approved today improves the management of electronic government programs and promotes the use of the Internet to provide better information and services to the public,” Thompson said.  “Also, the bill goes a long way toward ensuring the security of information systems used in electronic government programs by making permanent the Government Information Security Reform Act.”

?                              The measure would:establish an Office of Electronic Government, headed by a Senate-confirmed administrator within the Office of Management and Budget.

?                      authorize $345 million over four years for an e-government fund to support interagency e-government projects.

?                      improve upon the centralized online portal; establish an online directory of Federal web sites

       ?                      require federal courts to post opinions online.

       ?                      fund a federal  training center to recruit and train information technology professionals

                The bill contains a variety of other provisions that would require agencies to establish online rule-making, encourage compatibility of electronic signatures and provide strong new privacy protections.  In addition, it lifts the sunset on the Thompson-Lieberman Government Information Security Reform Act, which provides a new management framework for protecting the security of government computers.

                ?The private sector has benefitted tremendously from the application of information technology,? Lieberman said.  ?Now it?s government?s turn.  We must take full advantage of the Internet and other technologies to overcome arbitrary boundaries between agencies, so government can provide the public with seamless, secure online services.?

                The underlying bill is co-sponsored by Senators Conrad Burns, R-Mont., Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., Peter Fitzgerald, R-Ill., Thomas Daschle, D-S.D., John McCain, R-Ariz., Thomas Carper D-Del., Richard Durbin, D-Ill., Tim Johnson, D-S.D., John Kerry, D-Mass., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Carl Levin, D-Mich.. Max Cleland, D-Ga., Mark Dayton, D-Minn., and Deborah Stabenow, D-Mich.