House passes e-government bill

The House on Thursday passed legislation that creates a national e-government office and a federal e-government fund for interagency information technology projects.

The House bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim Turner, D-Texas, and co-sponsored by Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., would make permanent an office of e-government within the Office of Management and Budget. Mark Forman, appointed by President Bush last year as OMB's associate director for information technology and e-government, would most likely lead the office.

Another provision of the legislation establishes a federal e-government fund for interagency IT projects. The provision authorizes $200 million for the fund each year for fiscal years 2002, 2003 and 2004.

The e-government office's chief information officer would be in charge of overseeing and improving the coordination, deployment and management of e-government initiatives. In addition, the bill requires the CIO to study the feasibility of integrating electronic information systems across agencies and establish guidelines for such security measures as privacy notices on agency Web sites.

H.R. 2458 would also require IT officials to create a governmentwide Web site that includes a federal telephone directory and a national library. In addition, it orders studies on using information technology to enhance crisis response and authorizes the establishment of a federal IT training center.

S. 803, the companion bill passed by the Senate in June, also creates a permanent e-government office at OMB and a fund for interagency projects.

The e-government bill will now head to President Bush's desk.

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