Governor Lamont Proposes Legislation Streamlining Government Operations and Providing More Online Services
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he has introduced legislation for the recently commenced 2020 session of the Connecticut General Assembly that continues his ongoing efforts to reduce government bureaucracy, particularly regarding the procurement process. The governor said that these changes will make the state more business friendly and eliminate archaic requirements and procedures that serve as obstacles to moving services online.
“Citizens expect state government services to be as easy to access and convenient as online shopping or banking, but unfortunately there are laws on our books that include certain requirements blocking the adoption of moving these services online. It’s time we revise those laws and bring them into the 21st century,” Governor Lamont said.
To encourage more government services to move online, the governor is proposing to:
- Give all agencies the discretion to use online payment methods instead of requiring citizens to pay by check or show in in person with cash;
- Remove barriers to digital communications between citizens and agencies by eliminating language that mandates specific forms of delivery, such as U.S. Mail or fax, or using manual printed forms rather than electronic delivery; and
- Direct the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) to develop standards for digital identity proofing as an alternative to requiring notarization of certain legal documents.
The legislation also reduces the administrative hurdles businesses must jump through when conducting work with the state by eliminating six separate affidavits required for each contract that businesses are currently required to print, notarize, sign, and upload, and that state staff must audit and process. By incorporating the same terms into the master contract, over 90,000 forms can be eliminated annually.
In addition, it builds upon recent efforts to reduce bureaucracy in state contracting. The state has saved tens of millions of dollars by using reverse auctions for contracts for goods and supplies. This proposal extends the ability of DAS to use this modern procurement method for service contracts. Online reverse auctions are a cost-effective way in which the state can procure goods or services from multiple bidders using an online bidding platform.
Finally, in an attempt to settle an ongoing debate surrounding the definition of a “small business” to determine whether entities qualify for certain assistance programs, the governor is proposing to adopt a data-driven basis for defining small contractors based on the industry in which they operate by aligning the definition of a Connecticut-based “small business” with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s industry-specific standards. The proposal will simplify and expedite the small business certification process, making it easier and faster for businesses to receive certification.
“This legislation cuts red tape, wipes away antiquated requirements in state law, and paves the way for technology modernization,” Governor Lamont said.
To emphasize how these changes would benefit the state’s small businesses, Governor Lamont and DAS Commissioner Josh Geballe today visited Insalco Corporation, a company based in Wallingford that has 12 employees and has been providing the state with office furniture for 40 years.
“We have enormous opportunity to use technology to improve how we serve our citizens and businesses,” DAS Commissioner Geballe said. “These simple changes will have wide ranging, positive effects on how the state interacts with its citizens in a more modern, customer-focused approach.”
“I applaud Governor Lamont for pushing these changes that will make it much easier to do business with the state and give me and my team back time that can be better spent growing our business and creating jobs,” Scott Kowalski, President of Insalco, said. “As a small business we are constantly looking for areas we can innovate and it is good to see the state government making the same efforts.”
The governor’s legislation is House Bill 5012, An Act Concerning the Optimization of State Agency Operations and Services. It is currently being considered by in the Government Administration and Elections Committee.