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Digital Modernization

Senators Propose Bill to Support IT Modernization of State, Local Governments

IT modernization

Senators Propose Bill to Support IT Modernization of State, Local Governments

Sens. Ron Wyden and Patty Murray have introduced a bill that would provide $120 million annually for seven years to state, local and tribal governments to fund programs aimed at modernizing information technology systems.

Under the State and Local Digital Service Act, Congress would also authorize between $200,000 to $3 million per year for tech-planning grants.

The legislation states that half of all grant funding should be used to hire technical talent, specifically designers, technologists and civil servants tasked with providing Americans with digital services, Nextgov reported Thursday.

Governments need in-house technology experts to help in the research, design creation and procurement of digital services, Wyden said in a statement, noting that the bill would deliver upgrades for users and improve state and local systems.

Meanwhile, Murray said that the legislation would make “commonsense, long overdue investments” to help governments provide online services that live up to the current needs and expectations of Americans.

The bill seeks to provide capacity for digital service teams that would save money for state and local governments, improve digital resources, acquire top talent and make it easier for millions of citizens to avail themselves of the services they need, Murray noted.

The bill is an expanded version of the 2019 Digital Service Act, which was introduced by then-senator and current Vice President Kamala Harris.

The bill, which did not pass, would have allocated additional funding for the U.S. Digital Service.

The bill would also have provided $15 million in funding for local governments to modernize their digital systems.