Legislature allows Agency of Digital Services to be created - VTDigger

Legislature allows Agency of Digital Services to be created

A legislative panel has approved Gov. Phil Scott’s proposal for a new Agency of Digital Services that will handle the state’s information technology needs.

The House Energy and Technology Committee voted unanimously Friday to allow Scott’s executive order creating the agency to go into law.

Scott’s administration has told the Legislature the proposal is “budget-neutral.” In February, two committees in the Senate also approved the new agency.

The Agency of Digital Services would replace the current Department of Information and Innovation, which is within the Agency of Administration. The digital agency head will report directly to the governor.

Rep. Steven Carr, D-Brandon, the chair of the House Energy and Technology Committee said in a statement Friday that the proposal “has merit” and that IT restructuring has been a common theme among states.

“We expect him to ensure the following steps are taken: First, an inventory of all technology programs, personnel, and equipment owned by the state,” Carr said. “Second, a detailed plan for implementation of the order, presented to the committee.”

“Third, a timeline of when and how savings will occur, and fourth, clarification on the fiscal impact of the creation of this new agency, and what the impact on the employees will be,” he said. “Lastly, the new agency will report improvements to the Legislature regularly. “

The Energy and Technology Committee is a new committee that started this year to provide oversight of IT projects, which have been under legislative scrutiny since the bumpy rollout of Vermont Health Connect.

This is the only one of three executive orders Scott signed in January that the Legislature has allowed to go into effect. The Legislature had 90 days from the date Scott signed the orders to allow them to go into effect or to veto them with a majority vote from just one chamber.

Last week the House rejected a proposal to merge the Department of Liquor Control and the Vermont Lottery Commission. Earlier in the session, the Senate rejected a proposal to combine the Department of Labor and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.

Erin Mansfield

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