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house Bill H.R. 5759

Should Federal Agencies Have More Defined Standards For Technology Modernization?

Argument in favor

U.S. government websites and technologies are badly in need of modernization. They’re slow, difficult to use, and often outdated. As citizens become used to doing things online, they should be able to interact with government agencies digitally.

Phillip's Opinion
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11/29/2018
Every government department website should mimic each other and have basic functions so anyone can go to any department and know what to do. However when the government of the day is actively removing information from them perhaps some independent vetting is needed.
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Matt's Opinion
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11/29/2018
In an era of randomware and incredibly sophisticated viral software of many forms, this is so basically common sense it hurts.
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11/29/2018
Most federal government websites are very user friendly, such as Whitehouse.gov. But, there are some that need some work, for sure. This should help.
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Argument opposed

Forcing government agencies to accelerate their timelines for modernizing their technologies and websites before they’re ready could create new risks in the form of improperly deployed new technologies or the breakage of old, existing technologies.

Cynthia's Opinion
···
11/29/2018
Let's spend out hard earned taxes on more urgent needs, put this on the back burner, not even on simmer. And BUILD THE WALL. Many of USa voted for our President Trump on this important platform, it is number one and must be done. Or we become Germany, UK, Sweden, France, Italy, or California, perhaps altered and forever ruined like the nations these 'migrants' are being forced out of and into the civilized west.
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JTJ's Opinion
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11/28/2018
Remember the Obamacare rollout? This will be ineffective, insecure, and a huge waste of taxpayers money.
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Anthony's Opinion
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11/29/2018
No. Caution is the word when it comes to technology especially without clearly defined goals and without a CBO analysis of project definition and scope and cost estimates. Throwing money at such a broad and pervasive need without comprehensive planning and analysis is not only costly but dangerous.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Oversight and Reform
    IntroducedMay 10th, 2018

What is House Bill H.R. 5759?

This bill — the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience (IDEA)Act — would set clear benchmarks and speed up the timeline for federal agencies to improve their internal and external digital service delivery and infrastructures. It has four key pillars — user-friendly websites, access for digital transactions, e-signature usage, and security standards — which are translated into the 21st Century digital government priorities detailed below:

Ensuring Website Consolidation and Consistent Look and Feel

The bill requires government agencies to eliminate or consolidate duplicative web pages and update their content platforms to ensure a consistent look and feel.

Improving Government Website Accessibility

Agencies would be required to ensure that their websites and web-based forms meet the standards in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. This would ensure that every taxpayer can access the information they need online, regardless of their physical abilities.

Leveraging Data Analytics

Agencies would be required to use data analytics to build better websites that are responsive to users’ needs. This means websites would have to be designed around citizen experiences, and data would influence the management and development of web properties.

Content Personalization

Agencies would be required to provide users an option for a more customized digital experience, allowing them to complete digital interactions more efficiently and accurately.

Internal Digital Services

Agencies would be required to modernize their internal government employee digital experiences in order to produce the most effective and productive possible workforce.

Digitizing Government Services and Forms

The head of each executive agency would be responsible for making a web-based, mobile-friendly, digital services option available to the public for any in-person government transaction or paper-based process.

Adopting Electronic Signatures

Within 180 days of this bill’s enactment, agencies would submit plans to accelerate their use of electronic and digital signatures.

Prioritizing Customer Experiences

Chief Information Officers (CIOs) at agencies would be required to focus on improving customer experiences across digital and in-person interactions.

Creating a Designee to Ensure Effective Implementation

Each executive agency shall designate its CIO or a senior agency official whose primary responsibility is to ensure the implementation of this bill’s requirements. This person would be responsible for coordinating and ensuring alignment of the agency’s customer experience programs, monitoring digital service delivery, recommending changes to the agency head when needed, and providing advice to agency leaders on digital service delivery and customer service improvements.

Additionally, the General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Service would be charged with developing website standards for all government agencies. Any new websites that go live after this bill passes would have to abide by the increased standards from day one. This includes websites currently in production that would go live after a vote.

Impact

Users of government services; government technology; government websites; software companies; executive agencies; and the GSA.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 5759

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) introduced this bill to improve citizens’ interactions with the federal government online while also reducing the cost of assistance from federal agencies:

“The 21st Century IDEA enables accessible and efficient government resources, reduces production costs, and encourages continuous digital enhancement. Government exists to serve citizens, and this bill ensures government leverages available technology to provide the cohesive, user-friendly online service that people around this country expect and deserve.”

In comments at Government Executive’s Customer Experience Summit 2018, Rep. Khanna adds that the bill largely codifies a number of existing Office and Management and Budget (OMB) directives in the hopes of helping them see implementation:

“The bill idea was very simple. We already had legislation that required agencies to move towards the cloud, and required there to be mobile access. This bill takes a lot of the Office of Management and Budget directives and codifies them into law… The initiatives have been there in a bipartisan basis, in the Obama administration and the Trump administration. Our hope is by codifying this into law, it will spur the agencies to make it a priority and for us to start seeing implementation of a lot of OMB directives that haven’t been fully implemented.”

Bill cosponsor Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) adds that this bill uses new and emerging technologies to improve critical services access for marginalized and underserved communities, including “people with disabilities or those who live in rural areas with limited access to traditional, in-person assistance services.”

Adobe is one of a number of technology companies that supports this legislation. Its Director of Government Relations and Public Policy, Matt Schrader, writes:

“Restoring the United States government’s global leadership position in technology and electronic government requires a new approach — one that narrows the growing gap between the digital demands of citizens and government’s current digital services – and this legislation would be a key step towards accomplishing that by transforming digital government services and improving citizen experiences.”

The Software Alliance (also known as the BSA), the leading advocacy group for the global software industry, also supports this bill. Its Vice President of Legislative Strategy, Craig Albright, says:

“In today’s connected age, IT and software are critical to ensuring government services benefit all Americans. The 21st Century IDEA Act would help modernize those services by improving federal agency websites, supporting the increased use of mobile devices, and transitioning away from paper-based forms in favor of e-transactions. In short, the IDEA Act would modernize the digital government experience.”

This bill passed the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform by a voice vote with the support of 19 cosponsors, including 11 Republicans and eight Democrats. It also has the support of Adobe, BSA, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Microsoft, ServiceNow, SIIA, and DocuSign.

A Senate companion bill has passed the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committees with the support of Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Orrin Hatch (R-UT).


Of NoteAt present, only 84 percent of federal IT managers say their existing technology is completely capable of delivering on their agency’s mission. Even fewer, only 32 percent, of these IT managers say they’ll be able to meet their agencies’ missions five years from now using existing technology. 92 percent of them say it’s “urgent” for their agencies to modernize legacy applications due to concerns about security, inflexibility, time required to manage and/or maintain them, and integration issues.

However, despite these concerns, few federal IT managers are actively looking at new technologies. Only 28 percent of federal IT managers have developed a business case to review or replace applications, and only 53 percent have a formal application modernization strategy.

Citizens’ interactions with the federal government could be vastly improved by digitizing the experience. According to the IRS, in-person or live assistance calls to that agency cost taxpayers $40-60 on average, while digital transactions cost only $0.22 on average.

DocuSign argues that merely accelerating the use of electronic signatures across the federal enterprise would significantly reduce printing and postage costs on the scale of “hundreds of millions of pages and millions of dollars” every year. It’d also save time, allowing federal agencies to spend more time on their core mission rather than administration.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / powerofforever)

AKA

21st Century IDEA

Official Title

To improve executive agency digital services, and for other purposes.

    Every government department website should mimic each other and have basic functions so anyone can go to any department and know what to do. However when the government of the day is actively removing information from them perhaps some independent vetting is needed.
    Like (49)
    Follow
    Share
    Let's spend out hard earned taxes on more urgent needs, put this on the back burner, not even on simmer. And BUILD THE WALL. Many of USa voted for our President Trump on this important platform, it is number one and must be done. Or we become Germany, UK, Sweden, France, Italy, or California, perhaps altered and forever ruined like the nations these 'migrants' are being forced out of and into the civilized west.
    Like (14)
    Follow
    Share
    In an era of randomware and incredibly sophisticated viral software of many forms, this is so basically common sense it hurts.
    Like (23)
    Follow
    Share
    Most federal government websites are very user friendly, such as Whitehouse.gov. But, there are some that need some work, for sure. This should help.
    Like (11)
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    Share
    Absolutely, why not. #MAGA
    Like (9)
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    The 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience (IDEA)Act I STRONGLY recommend and support the passage of the House bill H.R. 5759 AKA - the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience (IDEA)Act — would set clear benchmarks and speed up the timeline for federal agencies to improve their internal and external digital service delivery and infrastructures. It has four key pillars — user-friendly websites, access for digital transactions, e-signature usage, and security standards — which are translated into the 21st Century digital government priorities detailed below: U.S. government websites and technologies are badly in need of modernization. They’re slow, difficult to use, and often outdated. As citizens become used to doing things online, they should be able to interact with government agencies digitally. SneakyPete..... 🇺🇸👍🏻🇺🇸👍🏻🇺🇸. 11*28*18
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    No. Caution is the word when it comes to technology especially without clearly defined goals and without a CBO analysis of project definition and scope and cost estimates. Throwing money at such a broad and pervasive need without comprehensive planning and analysis is not only costly but dangerous.
    Like (5)
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    Remember the Obamacare rollout? This will be ineffective, insecure, and a huge waste of taxpayers money.
    Like (5)
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    Please. It’s mind blowing how elementary and non user friendly government sites are. Also, let’s hope this will lead to the road toward our ability to vote online or in a voting app-which has been long overdue. The development of encryption should have been the moment we got to work on this idea.
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    I hate a smart Alec but....DUH! Technology is not going away. As a matter of fact it is increasing and upgrading at an incredible rate. We have to keep up to be secure and to be competitive. And our government needs to learn more about technolgy so they can ask intelligent questions when they interview these tech giants that are censoring conservatives!!!!!!!
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    The problem is not the standards the problem is politicians running against the government and the government “kill the beast politics” which grossly underfunds or contracts out key federal functions while Congress pretends not to know and understand. The. Of course there’s we the people who have no idea how government works or should work — we just keep drinking the Kool Aid. Sad really.
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    Yes, and instead of giving Any & All Congress People TAXPAYER'S MONEY to REDECORATE THE FREAKING OFFICES, USE "OUR TAX DOLLARS" ON USEFUL THINGS!
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    All should be stringently refined, upgraded constantly, monitored, and have the highest degree of security with multiple redundancies and constant oversight of machines and personnel!
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    If they do not make it as confusing as a trip to the DMV.
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    The government needs to get away from controlling everything.
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    Why do we have to create a law for people to do a good job? Who would enforce such a law? I might be missing something but this sounds silly to me.
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    U.S. government websites and technologies are badly in need of modernization. They’re slow, difficult to use, and often outdated. As citizens become used to doing things online, they should be able to interact with government agencies digitally.
    Like (2)
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    Digital technologies are only going to be more common place. Government needs to keep pace and this measure should be enacted.
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    Having a clearly defined federal guideline is always a good thing. For instance, standing up a private server to circumvent FOI requests should carry a mandatory federal prison sentence. If federal technology concerns were clearly mandated, there would be no excuse for circumventing federal systems and physical tech.
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    For sure
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