WASHINGTON – Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., and Ranking Republican Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., Friday announced the passage of legislation that will bring the federal government more fully into the electronic age by improving citizen access to government services and information people rely on their every day work and personal lives. The Senate passed the legislation by unanimous consent. The House passed the same bill earlier in the day, and it is expected to be signed by the president.
“Congressional passage of this legislation represents the culmination of years of work,” Lieberman said. “As a result, the government will be taking full advantage of the Internet and other information technologies to maximize efficiency and provide the public with seamless, secure online information and services.”
“In addition to improving the management of federal e-government programs, this bill goes a long way toward protecting federal information systems from vulnerability to computer attacks by international and domestic terrorists, crime rings, and hackers,” Thompson said. “We are fighting a new war in a new age on unconventional fronts. We can not afford to overlook our nation?s technology infrastructure as we secure our homeland.”
The Electronic Government Act represents a bipartisan agreement between Democrats, Republicans and the Administration. Senator Lieberman introduced this legislation in May of 2001 with Senator Conrad Burns, R-Mt. It passed the Senate in June by unanimous consent. Early Friday, the House passed an amended version of the bill, which was ratified by the Senate later in the day.
The measure will:
Establish an Office of Electronic Government, headed by a Presidentially-appointed administrator within the Office of Management and Budget. The Administrator will implement e-government initiatives and oversee agencies’ compliance with relevant statutes
Establish an E-Government Fund that will invest in interagency projects with government-wide application. The bill authorizes $45 million for the Fund in FY 2003, increasing to $150 million in FY 2006
Authorize funding for improvement of the federal Internet portal, Firstgov.gov, so that on-line government information and services are organized according to citizen needs, not agency jurisdiction
Require regulatory agencies to conduct administrative rule-makings on the Internet, and federal courts to post court information and judicial opinions on their websites
Allow agencies, scientists, policy makers and the public to have access over the Internet to non-sensitive information about where federal funds for scientific research are spent
Improve recruitment and training for federal information technology professionals
Establish significant new privacy protections for personally identifiable information maintained by the government
Update, improve and make permanent successful information security provisions.