MARCH 2021

 

House Bill 1137 & Companion

 Senate Bill 1448

have the potential to heavily impact a great majority of FTC members.  Please review our current stance on these bills shown below, and provide input by coming back and clicking here to answer 4 questions:

 

Member Input

 

 


 

HB1137 & Companion

 SB1148

:

 

Information Technology Procurement


 

Summary

Requires DMS to establish project management & oversight standards for state agency compliance & perform project oversight on IT projects; requires department to issue request for quotes to vendors approved to provide commodities or services; requires DMS to prequalify firms & individuals to provide services on state term contract.

FTC Weighs In:

Consulting services and staff augmentation services with the State of Florida has historically been a cumbersome process when compared to the private sector. At this point most in the private and public sector are ready for any improvement offered.  House Bill 1137, and companion Senate Bill 1448, were created to address this need. Is this the answer?  Or could we be making things worse?  FTC has comments, concerns and recommendations based on input from the private and public sector as well as state IT leaders across the nation.

 

Language:

Agencies will be required to provide the Florida Digital Service (FDS) with written notice of any procurement of information technology projects, including any competitive solicitation issued for a state term contract for information technology consulting services or staff augmentation services.

 

FTC Assessment of Potential Risks / Pitfalls:

  1. Rather than reducing steps and simplifying the process, this language introduces a strong potential to create additional approval layers in the state agency’s procurement process. The issuance of a competitive solicitation for information technology consulting services or staff augmentation services would potentially require FDS to participate in the development of specifications and recommend modifications to any planned procurement, to ensure the procurement conforms with the FDS’s planned Enterprise Architecture. 

 

  1. Given the volume and complexity of IT initiatives that exist across agencies, FDS would require significant staffing of highly skilled and experienced IT professionals, which do not exist. Without a great increase to staff it risks creating a bottleneck that would inhibit the approval process and slow the modernization of Florida’s IT infrastructure. Under the current language, FTC can envision scenarios where FDS members would potentially need to be involved with the review of vendor proposals in order to ensure conformity with the planned Enterprise Architecture.

 

  1. By placing FDS as the reviewer and approver of any agency IT initiative over $5 million, it raises a strong potential of conflict between itself and the various state agencies, which can negate the positive intentions that the Bills are attempting to achieve.

 

FTC Suggestions:

FTC is in agreement with what the bills appear designed to achieve – a more seamless integration of information sharing and standardization between agencies, for the long-term benefit of all Florida constituents. However, we feel that the risks and logistics issues outlined above are very real and have the potential to derail the good intentions that this legislation is designed to achieve. We therefore recommend that the following actions be taken prior to the passage of the House and Senate Bills:

 

  1. Clarify more succinctly at what level FDS will participate. This will not only minimize confusion, conflict, and misinterpretation, but also form a guideline for FDS’s professionals to interact effectively with the various agencies.

 

  1. Identify both the scope and limitations of FDS’s mandate. You may want to introduce the idea of an advisory board that would be charged with ruling on cases that involve disagreements between agencies and FDS.

 

  1. Include an appropriate budget for FDS, which will require professional staffing sufficient to achieve objectives without negatively impacting the IT goals of the various agencies.

 

Language:

Beginning October 1, 2021 and every year thereafter, the department shall prequalify firms and individuals to provide information technology contractual services and staff augmentation services.

 

FTC Assessment of Potential Risks / Pitfalls:

Given that the State Term Contract for IT Staff Augmentation is under a year old, the objectives of this change are unclear to FTC, considering the current State Term contract is effective for a two-year period. Typically, blanket contracts of this type cover a period of two years or longer. We believe that a yearly renewal of this type of contract places unwarranted duress on the vendor community. Recognizing this, and the past history of protests, we anticipate the following risks and potential pitfalls:

 

  1. If, during the course of the contract, the Department disqualifies vendors that are currently part of the State Term Contract there is a likelihood of protest, and a potential for legal action to be taken against the state.
  2. There appears to be no discussion of the basis or rationale for prequalification to take place on an annual basis. FTC can see a number logistical issue as a result of this action, but we cannot see the benefit to the state. Some logistical issues include the following:
  3. Qualifying to be on state term contracts requires a significant investment of financial resources, time, and labor from the private sector. If FDS excludes an existing approved state term contract vendor (which has invested the financial resources, time, and man hours to obtain a state term contract) this could result in FDS negatively impacting not only the vendor, but multiple State of Florida Agencies which are supported through consulting services or staff augmentation services provided by that vendor.
  4. This could create a situation where a vendor and their staff could potentially be removed from critical state projects on a yearly basis, based on undefined criteria created by FDS.
  5. Current language opens the door for protests taking place each year by vendors whose pre-qualification have been rejected by the state. In the past, protests have delayed the issuance of a state term contract by over a year. The same situation could occur with the pre-qualification process.
  6. The pre-qualification requirements are not discussed in the bills, leaving vendors unsure whether or not they will be treated fairly and equitably.
  7. The costs and human capital expenditure associated with a yearly pre-qualification process will be high for both the vendor community and the state. We do not see the cost-justification associated with this change.
  8. This legislation would likely create further delays by transferring a vast amount of responsibilities and oversight, currently handled by teams at multiple State of Florida Agencies, to FDS without providing funding to increase staffing at an agency that is already understaffed.

 

FTC Suggestions:

  1. Allow the existing State Term Contract to continue as is until its completion in August 2022. This will provide the time required to reassess any change in direction that the state wishes to make. It will also allow time for the vendor community to assess any changes that the state wishes to make, and respond accordingly.
  2. Over the next year take time to fully assess the current strengths and weaknesses associated with how the state currently handles IT staff augmentation, and build a consensus for improving the existing process.

 

Conclusion; 

Consolidation is incredibly difficult and extremely painful. This is not a quick fix and requires years of strong financial and committed support by both a Governor’s office and the legislature.  Historically Florida has delivered two years of support before work begins to eliminate the agency tasked to accomplish this goal. This includes the following examples:

  1. State Technology Office created in 2001 and unfunded in 2005,
  2. The Agency for Enterprise Information Technology created in 2007 and unfunded in 2012
  3. The Agency for State Technology created in 2014 and unfunded in 2019

The Division of State Technology , created in 2019 but never celebrated a single birthday

 

It is important to recognize that the need for financial and committed support doesn’t stop after a state has consolidated services. Michigan was a true success story years ago. Today however, is a different story.  As legislative dollars and high-level support diminished, their centralized control followed suit.

 

Nebraska and Texas are decentralized. Nebraska however has a centralized IT function. This may be what Florida is attempting, unfortunately there is a reason why this works in Nebraska, where there is a high likelihood of failing in Florida.  Where Nebraska serves 1.9 million, Florida’s agencies manage data, security and resources for a population of 21.48 million people. In addition, Nebraska has a single legislative chamber. Strong consistent support by the Nebraska Governor’s Office and legislature, combined with a much smaller lift, drastically increases the likelihood of success. 

 

With a strong focus on Florida’s past failures, and guidance delivered by leaders in both the private and public sector, along with insight provided by highly successful CIOs and IT leaders across the nation; FTC recommends abandoning this repeated  attempt to legislate a complete restructure of Florida’s decentralized system. We recommend a phased in approach focused first on the items recommended below. If we are to establish a cost saving centralized government, without creating counterproductive bureaucracy, it will come from collaborating with existing agencies to identify areas for immediate workload reduction and cost saving opportunities.

 

FTC Recommends:

FTC recommends that FDS begin a 4-year phased in consolidation and standardization process beginning with the areas listed below where economy of scale can be reached to assist and collaborate with the end user by consolidating the following;

  • Data Inventory and Catalogue
  • Agency call center infrastructure
  • Telecommunications, including cellular phones, consolidated under one state family plan
  • Hardware
  • Enterprise Software, such as productivity, BI, security and collaboration tools
  • Virtual desktop
  • Identity management
  • Access management
  • Mailing campaign services
  • Digital signature services

 

FTC further recommends consolidations are not bundled, unless such action creates a positive financial and workload savings for each participating agency.

 


 

Additional Tech Bills which may be of interest


 

SB506: Transparency in Government Spending

 

Status

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)
Status: Introduced on January 8 2021 - 25% progression
Action: 2021-03-02 - Introduced
Pending: Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee

Summary

Requiring that a website maintained by the Department of Management Services include specified data on salary and benefits of executives, managerial personnel, and board members of certain organizations or entities receiving state funds, by a specified date; requiring such organizations and entities to provide salary and benefit data to the department on an annual basis; requiring any such organization or entity to post salary and benefit data on the organization's or entity's own website, etc.

HB439: Cybersecurity

Status

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 2-0)
Status: Introduced on February 24 2021 - 25% progression
Action: 2021-02-28 - Now in Government Operations Subcommittee
Pending: House Government Operations Subcommittee Committee
 

Summary

Requires audit plans of inspector general to include certain information; revises provisions to replace references to IT & computer security with references to cybersecurity; provides & revises requirements for DMS, acting through Florida Digital Service; creates Florida Cybersecurity Advisory Council within DMS; providing purpose of council.
 

SB1900: Cybersecurity

Status

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)
Status: Introduced on February 26 2021 - 25% progression
Action: 2021-02-26 - Filed
 

Summary

Requiring certain audit plans of an inspector general to include certain information; revising provisions to replace references to information technology security and computer security with references to cybersecurity; providing that certain employees shall be assigned to selected exempt service; creating the Florida Cybersecurity Advisory Council within the Department of Management Services, etc.

 

SB44:

 Drones

Status

Spectrum: Bipartisan Bill
Status: Introduced on December 28 2020 - 25% progression
Action: 2021-03-01 - On Committee agenda-- Rules, 03/04/21, 9:00 am, 412 Knott Building
Pending: Senate Rules Committee
Hearing: Mar 4 @ 9:00 am in 412 Knott Building

Summary

Expanding the authorized uses of drones by law enforcement agencies, by a state agency or political subdivision, or by certified fire department personnel for specified purposes, etc.

 

SB138:

 Electric Vehicles

Status

Spectrum: Bipartisan Bill
Status: Introduced on December 4 2020 - 25% progression
Action: 2020-12-09 - Referred to Transportation; Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development; Appropriations
Pending: Senate Transportation Committee
 

Summary

Revising the Department of Transportation's goals relating to mobility; requiring the department to establish the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Grant Program; providing for the distribution of grants to certain entities to install electric vehicle charging infrastructure; specifying that certain rules adopted by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services may not require specific methods of sale for electric vehicle charging equipment used in, and services provided in, this state, etc.

HB139: Electronic Transactions for Title Certificates and Registrations

Status

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)
Status: Introduced on December 29 2020 - 25% progression
Action: 2021-01-20 - Referred to Tourism, Infrastructure and Energy Subcommittee; Infrastructure and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee; Commerce Committee
Pending: House Tourism, Infrastructure and Energy Subcommittee Committee
 

Summary

Authorizes tax collectors to accept applications for motor vehicle & vessel certificates of title by electronic or telephonic means, to collect electronic mail addresses for use as method of notification, & to contract with vendors to provide electronic & telephonic transactions; provides that electronic signature that meets certain requirements satisfies signature required for application for certificate of title; specifies tax collection systems for which certain fees may be used for integration with Florida Real Time Vehicle Information System; requires DHSMV to provide tax collectors & approved vendors with certain data access & interface functionality; specifies authorized uses; requires DHSMV to ensure approved vendors protect customer privacy & data collection.

SB140: Fees/Electric Vehicles

Status

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)
Status: Introduced on December 4 2020 - 25% progression
Action: 2021-03-02 - Introduced
Pending: Senate Transportation Committee
 

Summary

Creating additional fees for electric vehicles; creating a license tax and an additional fee for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles; requiring, on specified dates, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to increase the additional fees, subject to certain requirements; providing that certain vehicles are exempt from specified fees, etc.
 
 

HB 175 -  Apprenticeship and Preapprenticeship

SB508: Apprenticeship and Preapprenticeship

Programs

 

Status

Spectrum: Slight Partisan Bill (Republican 4-2)
Status: Introduced on January 6 2021 - 25% progression
Action: 2021-01-20 - Referred to Secondary Education and Career Development Subcommittee; Appropriations Committee; Education and Employment Committee
Pending: House Secondary Education and Career Development Subcommittee Committee
 

Summary

Revises requirements of DOE's annual report on apprenticeship & preapprenticeship programs; provides DOE's duties relating to apprenticeship programs; revises membership of State Apprenticeship Advisory Council; provides that parents of public school students be informed of workforce education opportunities.

HB 195 -  Transparency in Government Spending

 

S

B506: Transparency in Government Spending

 

Status

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)
Status: Introduced on January 8 2021 - 25% progression
Action: 2021-03-02 - Introduced
Pending: Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee

Summary

Requiring that a website maintained by the Department of Management Services include specified data on salary and benefits of executives, managerial personnel, and board members of certain organizations or entities receiving state funds, by a specified date; requiring such organizations and entities to provide salary and benefit data to the department on an annual basis; requiring any such organization or entity to post salary and benefit data on the organization's or entity's own website, etc.

HB 439 -  Prohibited Governmental Transactions with Technology Companies and for Chinese Products

 

Status

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)
Status: Introduced on January 26 2021 - 25% progression
Action: 2021-02-08 - Now in Public Integrity & Elections Committee
Pending: House Public Integrity and Elections Committee Committee
 

Summary

Prohibits agency or local governmental entity from purchasing any good made, or that contains specified percentage of parts that were produced, in China; prohibits agency or local governmental entity from purchasing any good or service made, sold, or provided by certain technology companies; provides that contract for purchase or provision of goods or services by agency or local governmental entity must include provision authorizing termination of such contract in certain circumstances.

 

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