[LINK] E-Gov Act on its way to president
Thu Nov 21 03:17:28 EST 2002
E-Gov Act on its way to president
BY William Matthews
Nov. 18, 2002 Printing? Use this version.
Federal Computer Week
Acting with almost Internet speed, the Senate passed the Electronic
Government Act late on Nov. 15, just hours after the House approved the
measure. All that's needed now is the president's signature and $45 million
will be available for e-government projects during the current fiscal year.
The act, sponsored by Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) is intended to push
federal agencies to make wider use of the Internet to provide information
and services to citizens.
For instance, the legislation would require regulatory agencies to conduct
rule-making on the Internet by publishing proposed rules on their Web sites
and accepting comments from the public via e-mail.
Agencies also would be required to post on their Web sites all of the
information they now are required to publish in the Federal Register.
Federal courts also would have to provide more information to citizens over
the Internet. The bill requires them to post rulings on cases and other
information on their Web sites.
A key aim of the bill is to improve the federal Internet portal, FirstGov,
to make it easier for users to find the information and services they are
seeking. As one step, the bill calls for creating a directory of all
government Web sites. Rather than simply a list, the directory is to be
built on a detailed taxonomy that enables users to search for information
based on subject rather than on the agency that possess it, a Senate
The E-Government Act of 2002 also would strengthen protections on privacy
to prevent inappropriate disclosure of personally identifiable information
that is maintained by federal agencies.
Lieberman said the intent of his legislation is to get the federal
government to take "full advantage of the Internet and other information
technologies to maximize efficiency and provide the public with seamless,
secure online information and services."
The bill also calls for better recruiting and training for federal
information technology professionals.
These and other e-government efforts would be managed by a new Office of
Electronic Government that is to be established within the Office of
Management and Budget. The new office would be headed by an administrator
who would be appointed by the president and would report to the OMB
director and deputy director.
That, essentially, is the setup that exists today with Mark Forman, who is
associate OMB director for information technology and e-government.
Including the $45 million for 2003, the administrator would have a $345
million over five years to spend on projects that promote electronic
government. Forman received $5 million for that purpose in 2002.
There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full
--Henry Kissinger, New York Times article, 1969.
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