SAINT PAUL, MN – On Thursday, Rep. Jim Nash, R-Waconia, introduced legislation to reform the state’s information technology agency, MN.IT. Following the failed rollout of the new licensing system, MNLARS, Rep. Nash’s bill would require MN.IT to search for commercially available solutions before creating software themselves.
“Minnesotans are tech savvy -- they use technology to easily interact with large organizations, both private and public, and they expect this same ease-of-use and dependability when utilizing software created by the state,” said Nash. “They are rightfully frustrated – and frankly baffled – by repeated problems with the state's technological systems.”
The bill requires MN.IT to seek quotes from third-party vendors via a request for proposal (RFP) or a request for quotation (RFQ) if MN.IT plans to create new software. Under the proposed legislation, MN.IT must identify third-party providers or a commercially available solution that could be customized for Minnesota’s needs before building a new system from scratch.
“New software is something the state of Minnesota will need on an ongoing basis,” said Nash. “In order to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely, this bill creates a process and procedure around how software is purchased or created. MNLARS is a perfect example of why we need common sense reforms to guarantee the state is delivering the best, most affordable product to Minnesotans.”
If no other software or solution exists, MN.IT could then start the process of creating new software themselves, or if legislative appropriation is provided.
“By first looking elsewhere for commercially available software that can be customized, the state can hopefully find a working program while also saving taxpayers the expense of MN.IT writing the software themselves,” said Nash. “This is a reasonable solution to prevent problems going forward, and one I would expect Governor Dayton to support this session.”
Rep. Nash’s bill will officially receive a House File number when it is introduced during Thursday’s floor session.