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Officials Discuss Bills With Potential Interest for IT Sector

At the recent California Department of Technology Vendor Forum, officials analyzed pending legislation with likely relevance for state and local IT shops and vendors.

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As lawmakers continue fleshing out the placeholder budget they approved on time last week, as required by the state Constitution, they’re also mulling several pieces of legislation that technology officials find particularly noteworthy.

This became clear for the approximately 200 attendees at last week’s virtual California Department of Technology (CDT) Vendor Forum, as the department’s Deputy Director of Legislation John Mann joined his counterpart at the California Department of General Services, Deputy Director of Legislation Matt Bender, for a discussion of bills to watch. (DGS and CDT are sister departments under the California Government Operations Agency.) Among the takeaways:

  • Assembly Bill 13, formerly AB 2269, from Assemblymember Ed Chau, D-Monterey Park, would enact the Automated Decision Systems Accountability Act of 2020 — and require state agencies to use “an acquisition method that minimizes the risk of adverse and discriminatory impacts resulting from the design and application of automated decision systems.”
    “It would require both the state and vendors to attest and certify that there are no disparate impacts of those systems and the data that’s used that drives those systems. And it would require the Department of Technology to establish guidelines and policies which would help govern or guide procurements for ADS-related systems,” Mann said. Specifically, AB 13 would require CDT by Jan. 1, 2023, to create guidelines for “identifying automated decision systems” subject to the bill; require that state agencies submit to CDT a “high-risk automated decision system accountability report” within 30 days of awarding a contract subject to its provisions; and require that CDT publish on its website the “automated decision system impact assessment submitted by the contractor and the high-risk automated decision system accountability report prepared by the state agency.” CDT would also be authorized to adopt regulations and publish guidelines to meet the bill’s goals. Referred to three different state Senate committees, AB 13 on Tuesday cleared the California state Senate Governmental Organization Committee and is headed next to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  • State Senate Bill 674, from Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, D-Los Angeles, would require the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) to create the California Jobs Plan Program. Among its goals would be creating a form stating the minimum number of proposed jobs that “are projected to be retained and created if the applicant wins the covered public contract, and proposed wages, benefits, and investment in training.” The bill would require LWDA to develop a web-based portal capable of tracking compliance and noticing relevant public agencies of companies’ failure to comply with their commitments to the California Jobs Plan.
    The bill, Bender said, creates new requirements for transportation-related contracts valued at $10 million or more. ”One of the questions would be how transportation-related does the service have to be? Potentially some IT services are used for activities related to transportation.” It has been referred to the Assembly committees on Labor and Employment, and on Transportation.
  • AB 1037, from Assemblymembers Timothy Grayson, D-Concord, and Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, would require DGS to “develop guidance, policies, and procedures for the integration and development of digital construction technologies for use on a civil infrastructure project” from “specified state entities” and with a project cost of more than $50 million. The bill would also require that this guidance include a way for a state department to “implement a requirement that a bid or proposal for a civil infrastructure project contract include a digital construction management plan.” DGS would work with state agencies to create the required standards and would publish them in the State Administrative Manual, Bender said. “The purpose of the bill is to promote the adoption of these technologies,” he told attendees. The bill has been referred to the Senate Governmental Organization Committee.
  • Assembly Bill 14, from Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters, and AB 41, from Assemblymember Jim Wood, D-Santa Rosa, and Aguiar-Curry, would both, Mann said, “make changes and update” the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) program administered by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The CPUC, he pointed out, leverages and manages CASF monies to fund private- and public-sector entities to meet the state’s needs on broadband and digital literacy in unserved and underserved areas. AB 14, the Internet for All Act, would “authorize local educational agencies to report to the department their pupils’ estimated needs for computing devices and Internet connectivity adequate for at-home learning.” It would also authorize county supervisors to acquire, build or operate the broadband or other communications services they need to obtain “federal or state support for the acquisition, construction, improvement, maintenance or operation of broadband Internet access service.” And it would require the CPUC to prioritize projects in unserved areas when approving CASF last-mile infrastructure projects. It’s headed to the Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications.
    AB 41 would require the California Broadband Council to define and identify priority areas for broadband deployment and create a “notification system to coordinate conduit deployment” between the California Department of Transportation, the CPUC and Internet service providers. It would also require the department to determine “an equitable way to pay or reimburse the department for costs relating to broadband conduit planning, installation, and maintenance”; and would require the CPUC to compile a publicly accessible interactive map of current and future broadband infrastructure needed to provide high-speed Internet to all Californians.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Industry Insider — California.