There have been very few technology related bills dropped this session, which could be partly due to the amount of new legislators in office. After the 2023 election, the Legislature lost many of its seasoned, tech-minded legislators who typically sponsored these types of bills.
Still, of the bills that have emerged, there are some we’re interested in following – and you might be, too. Here’s a brief look at the ones worth watching.
No TikTok on Government Devices
Shortly after President Biden issued an Executive Order giving federal agencies and contractors 30 days to remove the app on government-issued devices, the State of Arizona followed suit. Representative Gress’ HB 2416: Electronic Devices; Government Employees; Prohibition bill started the “no TikTok on government devices” conversation in Arizona.
Local universities quickly banned the Chinese app on university-managed devices, with Maricopa County and Governor Hobbs following right behind. HB 2416 passed the Legislature and is still waiting for Governor Hobbs to sign this policy into law, about which so many people are passionate.
Software licensing has been a topic of conversation at the Legislature now for the second year in a row. Previously an idea from Representative Weninger, Representative Wilmeth sponsored HB 2206: Software Licensure, but has been struggling to unite the Republican caucus to understand the importance and necessity of this policy.
Supporters of HB 2206 argue this bill creates fairness and would empower public agencies to choose which hardware they want their software run on. The opposition claims this is a vendor bill that isn’t solving any existing problem. HB 2206 has had difficulty getting through with the new rules imposed at the Legislature this year.
Criminal Justice Data System: Phase 2
In 2021, HB 2166 directed the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission to complete a criminal justice data survey and report. This bill was necessary to implement a model for uniform criminal justice data collection and transparency to the public. This idea was so popular that HB 2195 was introduced this year, which would expand this report into a Phase 2, adding more money and reporting requirements.
This bill has also faced many challenges along the way, with much outspoken opposition for publishing this type of information. Only time will tell if this bill makes it to the Governor’s desk, and whether she will sign or veto it.
Cybersecurity Software Bids
Senator Kavanagh is pushing for more money to acquire security software that detects security threats for the second year in a row. Last year, through the General Appropriations Act HB 2862, ADOHS was appropriated $2M to procure and implement an enterprise license for security software that will integrate security into the development process and scan software code in development, production, and postproduction to detect and reduce security risks by using at least two of the following testing mechanisms:
- Static analysis security testing
- Dynamic testing
- Penetration testing
- Software composition analysis
SB 1041 will add another $2M in funding to continue this work. The Legislature, however, has had concerns that continued funding may not be necessary for this type of software given the money appropriated last year has not been spent.
Policies Impacting Procurement
There is a new focus on state procurement laws this session that are limiting the types of companies the state can work with. Several bills have been introduced restricting a public entity from entering into or renewing a contract with a company that has certain policies in place. Policies such as environmental, social or governance standards (ESG), diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), firearm discrimination and targeted censorship of “free speech” have created an ideological debate between legislators.
The question is not whether these types of policies should exist, but whether these exclusions belong in the State Procurement Code. Attempting to exclude companies from doing business with the state could lead to limited competition and operational concerns.
As Governor Hobbs’ first legislative session wraps up, there is a lot to look forward to. The Executive and Legislature continue to debate the critical needs of the state agencies. And while they may be from different political parties, they continue to fight for policies that will advance the State of Arizona in the coming year.
If you would like to talk about any of these bills or brainstorm on new policy ideas, we invite you to connect with us. We’re always doing our part to advance good government and smart technology policies in Arizona.