Summary of Survey Results
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on legislative information technology offices in 2020. An August survey of key information technology CIOs and directors in state legislatures found that legislative IT staff in many states have shifted priorities and provided new services to meet the demands of a remote workforce and to support virtual legislative sessions and hearings.
In the survey, CIOs and IT directors indicated that among their top priorities in the coming months will be developing new applications to support remote sessions, hearings or voting. For example, one respondent noted: “We are shifting our disaster recovery strategy from tape to cloud, beginning Office 365 adoption more broadly to support remote workers, and developing new apps for paperless legislative processes. I believe we will be asked to find more permanent solutions for supporting remote session as well. The current solution was put together quickly for temporary use.”
Other respondents indicated that having previously upgraded to cloud-based systems helped with the transition to remote work and meetings, while still others specifically mentioned the need to investigate the possibility of moving applications and data to the cloud.
Concerns about funding and the need for additional security measures due to COVID-19 also figured prominently in responses to the survey. And a majority of CIOs or directors expect that combating security threats will be either the “most important” or an “important” priority for their office in the next few years.
Lastly, implementing or increasing capacity for video livestreaming and recordings of legislative proceedings is also a priority for many CIOs or directors. As legislatures moved to remote hearings in 2020, some began or augmented livestreaming and recording committee hearings to ensure that hearings would be accessible to the public, especially if state capitol buildings were closed due to the pandemic.