Opinion Columns & Blogs

Legislature’s tech shortcomings go beyond bill drafting

The Wichita Eagle

Legislative leaders have spent $14 million on a software system that seems unlikely to ever meet expectations for bill drafting and other essential functions, though Irish contractor Propylon has had four years to fix the glitches and end the delays. While a special committee helps House and Senate leaders figure out whether to stick it out or start over – the latter a costly proposition – they should recognize that the Legislature’s technical shortcomings are even worse from the perspective of the public. It’s a challenge to find bills and explainers online in a timely manner, sometimes at all. And the only online audio feeds available – of live sessions in the full House and Senate – are often of poor quality and unreliable, even bleeding into each other when both chambers are at work. Most states enable residents to watch or at least hear more from their lawmakers online, including in committee hearings, live and sometimes later by archiving sessions. But Kansas House leaders continue to block legislation to provide so much as live audio of selected committees. – Rhonda Holman