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IT Modernization, Digital Equity Bills Move Through Legislature

Several significant proposed laws that could improve digital equity and affect how IT modernizations are done are making their way through the state Senate and Assembly.

The main entrance to the California Capitol building.
With a key legislative deadline now behind them, several significant proposed bills that could impact state IT and digital equity are still under consideration by lawmakers.

April 29 was the last day for state Senate and Assembly committees that set policy to report out to fiscal committees on bills with a likely financial impact, including those requiring a state entity to spend money, an appropriation of funds or potentially resulting in a loss of revenue.

Among those that continue onward are pieces of proposed legislation on IT procurement, modular tech projects and codifying digital equity. Among the bills to watch:

  • State Assembly Bill 1806, from Assemblymember Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, was re-referred to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations where it’s due to be heard today; this article will likely be updated. The bill targets monolithic IT initiatives and procurements, and stipulates “that large-scale information technology acquisitions are best realized using modular contracting.” That is, provided nine other factors are met including leveraging “increments across the organization”; working in integrated project teams; collaboration between IT project manager and contracting officer teams; early cost, schedule, performance and outcome target setting; and proper governance. The bill would require the California Department of Technology (CDT) to maximize the use of modular contracting – defined as “a contractual approach that provides for incremental delivery, implementation and testing of an information technology acquisition by dividing it into discrete increments.” And it would require CDT to “simplify management of large-scale information technology acquisition” by breaking it into smaller increments; address complicated IT objectives incrementally to increase the likelihood of achieving “workable solutions”; and provide for delivery, implementation and testing of systems in “discrete,” independent solutions. The department would also have to award contracts for increments of an IT acquisition via modular contracting within 180 days of issuing a solicitation, and deliver an increment of an IT “acquisition” within 18 months of a solicitation.
  • AB 2558, from Assemblymember Devon Mathis, R-Porterville, was referred to the state Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection; no hearing has been scheduled. The bill would update state law to require CDT to establish and maintain “a framework of policies, procedures and requirements for the initiation, approval, implementation, management, oversight and continuation of information technology projects that use a modular modernization approach.” The bill would require CDT to set up and put in place an “oversight modular modernization framework” by Jan. 1, 2025. The bill defines a modular approach as one that replaces an IT system “through multiple stand-alone components, or modules, that result in incremental improvements to the (IT) system over time instead of replacing the entire system all at once.” And the bill specifies that “unless otherwise required by law, a state department shall not procure oversight services” of IT projects without CDT approval.
  • AB 2750, from Assemblymember Mia Bonta, D-Oakland, is also due to be considered today by Assembly Appropriations. It would require CDT to work with residents, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the California Broadband Council to draw up a state digital equity plan. The bill would require the plan include “the identification of barriers to digital equity faced by specified populations, as provided, and measurable objectives towards achieving digital equity among those populations.” It would also require CDT to seek all federal funding that’s available to create the plan and put it into practice.
  • AB 2753, from Assemblymember Eloise Reyes, D-San Bernardino, has also been referred to Appropriations but no hearing date is set. It would create a Digital Equity Bill of Rights, specifying that it’s state policy to ensure digital equity for all California residents, that residents shall have the right to broadband “that meets specific requirements,” and that “broadband Internet subscribers benefit from equal access to broadband Internet service.” The bill would require the CPUC to adopt rules to enable equal access to broadband by Jan. 1, 2025; and require that any rules it adopts “promote equal access to robust broadband Internet service by prohibiting deployment discrimination.”
  • AB 1711, from Assemblymember Kelly Seyarto, R-Murrieta, is in Assembly Appropriations for a third reading, though a date doesn’t appear to have been set. The bill would require an agency that “owns or licenses” data with residents’ personal information (PI) to disclose any security breach after notifying residents whose PI, encrypted or not, may have been “acquired” by someone unauthorized. Agencies that maintain data with PI they don’t own would also have to inform owners or licensees of that information, and of any security breaches if the PI may have been “acquired” by someone unauthorized.
  • SB 1275, from state Sen. Sydney Kamlager, D-Los Angeles, would “authorize a state agency to accept cryptocurrency as a method of payment for the provision of government services.” It has been referred to the Senate committees on Governmental Organization and on Banking and Financial Institutions; hearing dates haven’t been announced.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Industry Insider — California.