Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2005

Joint Commission on Technology and Science

May 4, 2005

The Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS) held its first meeting of the 2005 Interim on May 4, 2005. Members are Delegates Joe T. May (chairman), Kenneth R. Plum, Harry R. Purkey, Samuel A. Nixon, Thomas D. Rust, Kenneth C. Alexander, and John A. Cosgrove and Senators Stephen D. Newman (vice-chairman), Janet Howell, William C. Wampler, Jr., Kenneth W. Stolle, and John Watkins.


JCOTS was created as a permanent legislative agency in 1997 at the recommendation of a Joint Legislative Task Force on Science and Technology in order to provide leadership in collecting, managing, and monitoring reliable and accurate information about science and technology. Since its inception, JCOTS has sought to examine and implement sound technology and science-related public policy for the Commonwealth. JCOTS continues to work to identify emerging technology issues with a goal of proactively creating public policy.

VITA Presentation

Representatives from the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA), Diane Horvath, Susan Wooley, and Jeff Deason, briefed the members on the current work and initiatives of VITA. VITA is launching a transformation of service delivery by consolidating, standardizing, and leveraging a common information technology (IT) infrastructure The Council on Virginia's Future, in collecting data for a move towards performance-based budgeting, has identified a number of agencies involved in repetitive services. Members asked for more information regarding the evaluation and creation of an enterprise architecture (a business-based framework for government-wide improvement) in the Commonwealth.

Ms. Horvath explained that, through the Information Technology Investment Board (ITIB) and the Chief Information Officer structure, VITA works to improve oversight of IT investments in the Commonwealth. The agency provides 100 interactive services online through Virginia Interactive. In 2004, the virginia.gov portal was accessed 32 million times. VITA also provides $1.3 million annually in free web design, consulting, accessibility, and host services for state agencies, as well as localities. Localities have realized an $8 million cost savings in IT investments.

Ms. Wooley briefed JCOTS on VITA's sourcing strategy efforts and the agency's four-pronged approach:

  • Collaborate with agencies to meet specific needs, providing consulting and oversight services.
  • Provide full-service, end-to-end assistance by managing sourcing and
    establishing direct supplier relationships through Commonwealth Enterprise
  • Create partnerships in order to foster efficient operations through statewide prime contractor agreements.
  • Provide self-service tools and IT capabilities with easy access.

Due to budgetary issues, VITA anticipates an overall rate increase for services over the next few years. In 2005, VITA received $500,000, earmarked for the Virginia Base Mapping Program. The Governor recommended an appropriation of over $8 million. VITA anticipates that rates will rise to $9.9 million for fiscal year 2006, $10.9 million for fiscal year 2007, and fall to $5.3 for fiscal year 2008.

There was a brief discussion regarding eVA, Virginia's e-procurement system. The members were concerned about the difficulty vendors experienced in using eVA and suggested that the CIO be made aware of their concerns. The current rate structure of eVA was also addressed. Ms. Horvath indicated that administrative fees were established as a cost-recovery method and that the eVA system is currently self-funded.

The security of electronic databases is an issue of increasing concern both in the Commonwealth and across the country. Mr. Deason briefed JCOTS on its enterprise security program. There are three key elements of ensuring security of the Commonwealth's databases: (i) protection, through the establishment of effective incident management and the creation of a secure infrastructure; (ii) security awareness, through information security training; and (iii) program compliance, through the development of security policies, standards and procedures, and risk management.

Ms. Horvath next reported on the status of proposals received by VITA under the Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002 (§ 56-575.1 et seq. of the Code of Virginia). VITA will review proposals from IBM and Northrop Grumman addressing infrastructure and proposals from CGI-AMS and IBM addressing enterprise applications. The infrastructure proposals relate to the hardware, networks, associated services and staff required to support the information systems that agencies use to operate and provide services to citizens. The enterprise architecture proposals relate to the business processes and software applications used across state government to provide management and administrative support within agencies, such as human resource management, accounting, and procurement. VITA's goal is to complete negotiations by October 2005.

Ms. Horvath explained VITA's efforts to create a statewide enterprise business architecture that would lead to better citizen services, more economic development opportunities, and increased cost savings. The architecture would allow VITA to operate a common, standardized IT infrastructure that would allow the Commonwealth to shift resources from infrastructure support to service

Other Business

JCOTS staff provided a brief review of technology initiatives in other states, as well as the status of the bills recommended by JCOTS to the 2005 Session of the General Assembly. For a list of all science and technology related legislation, see the JCOTS website.

JCOTS Work Plan

The work plan includes the creation of four advisory committees focusing on privacy, emerging technology, nanotechnology, and integrated government. Issues referred by the General Assembly to JCOTS for study include the use of electronic toll collection, off-shoring, the use of cell phones while driving, breach of databases, and intellectual property commercialization. For a complete list of study topics see the complete work plan posted on the JCOTS website.

Next Meeting

Future meeting dates have not been set, but will be posted on the JCOTS website as soon as available.

The Hon. Joe T. May

For information, contact:
Lisa Wallmeyer
Executive Director



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