Sen. Harris Debuts Bill to Boost Government Tech

Senator and presidential candidate Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) has introduced a bill that would boost funding for state and local governments to invest in improving digital services, which means updating systems and Web sites, as well as "bolster" the U.S. Digital Services (USDS).

The Obama Administration created the USDS to boost the federal government's digital efficiency.

“We must do more to empower our state and local governments to tap into the power of technology to provide seamless, cost-effective services for the 21st century," said Harris. "The Digital Service Act will help harness top talent for the government, save taxpayer dollars, and put the power of technology to work on behalf of the American people.”

Specifically, the bill would:

"Authorize $50 million annually for the United States Digital Service.

"Authorize $15 million annually for state and local governments to receive two year seed grants to establish and strengthen digital services.

"Require at least 50% of each grant to be used for talent rather than technology.

"Require grantees to report on outcomes before the end of the two-year period.

"Require the USDS to report to Congress on the impact of grants bi-annually."

Among the bill's backers are the Center for Democracy and Technology. "It captures the spirit of American technological innovation together with the tested service delivery model of the United States Digital Service (USDS) in order to bring transformative solutions to the state and local level," said CDT VP Michael Calabrese.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.