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Our Opinion: Technology task forces would keep state on cutting edge

February 18, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

We support legislative proposals that would help the state update its remote work policies and encourage cutting-edge technology in government and private industry.

A trio of bills recently heard in committee at the Capitol makes a lot of sense and would help the state stay current with ever-changing technology.

As we recently reported, the first bill (HB 2327) would create a task force to study work-from-home arrangements from across various industries to determine the best way to implement a remote work plan for the state.

This "Work-From-Anywhere Task Force" would consist of lawmakers, gubernatorial and House leadership appointees and representatives from the departments of Higher Education and Workforce Development and Economic Development.

The bill's sponsor, state Rep. Louis Riggs, R-Hannibal, said the task force would help the state workforce keep pace with remote work standards employed by other sectors.

The technology to work from home has been available for years. But the state, like employers everywhere, was pushed to quickly implement work-at-home when the pandemic hit in early 2020.

However, how should the state proceed now that the pandemic is (hopefully) waning? Working at home makes sense for some employees and has the potential to save the state money. But determining policies for tens of thousands of state employees across a handful of departments isn't easy.

This task force would file a report proposing remote work policies with the legislature by Aug. 28, 2023, and every two years thereafter, with a new set of members handling each report.

Riggs presented two similar proposals that also have merit. One would create the Missouri State Technology Task Force focused on the state government's information systems. The other would create a task force to recommend the best practices to expand and maximize industries spurring technological innovation in Missouri.

One suggestion we would offer is to have at least one representative from the private sector on each task force. Private- sector businesses must innovate and stay on top of technology to survive. These representatives could offer unique perspectives.

We hope lawmakers give serious consideration to these bills.

News Tribune

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