Tablets in Legislatures and IT Priorities

6/15/2014

Survey Overview

Computer tabletIn May 2014, key legislative information technology (IT) contacts were surveyed about the size of legislative IT staffs, the use of tablets and laptops in legislatures, legislative IT priorities for the next one to three years and challenges facing legislative technology managers. Forty-four key contacts responded, representing 33 states, 11 chambers and the Puerto Rico Senate. IT services are provided by a single central IT agency in most states, but some legislatures have separate IT staffs for each chamber. 

Size of IT Staffs in Legislatures

Of the states responding to the survey, most have modest levels of full-time IT staffs. Sixteen of the respondents employ 10 or fewer full-time information technology staff in their office. In some of the responding states, additional IT staff may be employed in separate agencies, such as a fiscal office, or as caucus staff. 

Use of Tablets and Laptops in Legislatures

Most legislatures provide desktop and or laptop computers for all legislators. Legislatures have begun to purchase tablets for legislators as well, either in place of or in addition to laptops. In some states, legislators are given a choice between a laptop or a tablet. As mobile devices have become increasingly popular, legislative IT staff have created custom mobile apps for iPhones, iPads or Android devices. More commonly, however, IT staff are optimizing legislative websites for a wide range of devices, from desktop computers and laptops, to tablets, to mobile phones. 

Legislative Information Technology Priorities

Survey respondents were asked to choose their highest priorities for the next one to three years.The highest priority projects for most legislatures, aside from maintaining and supporting current systems and customer needs, were:

  • Combating security threats, taking increased security measures.
  • Adapting legislative websites for mobile devices.
  • Developing new legislative applications (e.g., bill drafting, bill status, committee systems, etc.).
 

Legislative Information Technology Challenges

Survey respondents identified "keeping up with security threats," "keeping up with changing and new technologies," and "finding and retaining skilled IT staff" as the biggest challenges facing them as IT managers. 

Survey Results 

 

1. Total number of full-time IT staff employed in your agency/office/chamber

 

Response Total

  Between 1 and 10

16

 Between 11 and 25

15

 Between 26 and 49

11

 50 and above

1

Total Respondents=43

(skipped this question)=2


 

2. Do your members use laptops or tablets to access legislative information in the chambers or committee rooms?

 

Response Total

Yes – laptops

39

Yes – iPads

30

Yes – Android tablets

11

Yes –Windows-based tablets

12

No – laptops or tablets are not allowed in chambers

1

No – laptops or tablets are not allowed in committee rooms

0

Other

6

Total Respondents=44

(skipped this question)=1

 

 

3. Are the laptops or tablets purchased by the legislature or do members buy their own?

 

Response Total

Legislature has purchased  laptops for all members

33

Legislature has purchased  tablets for all members

12

Legislature has purchased  laptops for some members

6

Legislature has purchased  tablets for some members

5

Legislature has purchased  laptops or tablets for a pilot project

3

Members use their own laptops or tablets.

20

Total Respondents=42

(skipped this question)=3

 

 

4. Please check the following applications or information available to members on tablet devices.

 

Amend-ments

Bill Status

Bill text

Legislative Calendar

Committee applications

Journal

Personal Scheduling

Statutes

Other

Information available via the Internet (i.e., legislative website)

39

43

43

43

26

34

19

42

10

Information available only via an intranet (i.e., internal to the legislature)

11

12

11

11

12

8

8

11

8

Information available as a custom (native) app

12

12

12

12

12

10

8

8

7

(skipped this question)=3

 

 

5. Which of the following projects do you expect to be a priority for your office in the next few (1-3) years?

 

Most important

Important

Somewhat important

Not Important at this time

Response Total

Developing customized mobile apps for mobile devices

1

22

12

7

42

Adapting legislative websites for mobile devices

8

25

4

4

41

Providing technical management of or support for members’ personal mobile devices BYOD

6

16

13

7

42

Developing or refining systems to enable a paperless environment

7

16

12

7

42

Moving to a cloud computing environment

5

6

14

16

41

Developing or supporting collaboration tools

2

16

13

11

42

Combating security threats, taking increased security measures

17

21

3

0

41

Developing new legislative applications e.g., bill drafting, bill status, committee systems

19

11

9

3

42

Maintaining and supporting current systems and customer needs

23

18

2

0

43

(skipped this question)=2


 

6. Of the following, please identify the issues that are most or least challenging for you as a technology manager.

 

Very challenging

Challenging

Not challenging

Response Total

Limited budgets

9

26

8

43

Finding/retaining skilled IT staff

13

24

6

43

Keeping up with changing/new technologies

14

28

1

43

Keeping up with security threats

17

21

5

43

Getting support/attention from legislative leadership or upper management

8

20

15

43

(skipped this question)=2

   

 

 

States or Chambers Responding (Total = 33 states and Puerto Rico and 11 chambers)

  Alabama

X

 

  Montana

X

  Alaska

X

 

  Nebraska

X

  Arizona

X

 

  Nevada

X

  Arkansas

 

 

  New Hampshire

 

  California

 

 

  New Jersey

 

  Colorado

X

 

  New Mexico

X

  Connecticut

X

 

  New York Senate

X

  Delaware

X

 

  North Carolina

X

  Florida House

X

 

  North Dakota

X

  Georgia

 

 

  Ohio

X

  Hawaii House

X

 

 Oklahoma House

X

  Hawaii Senate

X

 

  Oklahoma Senate

X

  Idaho

X

 

  Oregon

X

  Illinois

X

 

  Pennsylvania

X

  Indiana

 

 

  Rhode Island

 

  Iowa

 

 

  South Carolina

X

  Kansas

X

 

  South Dakota

X

  Kentucky

X

 

  Tennessee

X

  Louisiana Senate

X

 

  Texas

X

  Maine

X

 

  Utah

X

  Maryland

X

 

  Vermont

X

  Massachusetts

X

 

  Virginia House

X

  Michigan House

X

 

  Virginia Senate

X

  Michigan Senate

X

 

  Washington

X

  Minnesota Senate

X

 

  West Virginia

X

  Mississippi

 

 

  Wisconsin

X

  Missouri House

X

 

  Wyoming

X

  

   

  Puerto Rico

X

 

If you have questions about the survey or survey results, please contact Pam Greenberg, NCSL Liaison to NALIT at (303) 856-1413.