Bright Ideas are back! Leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs and people who are doing interesting things share their bright ideas for 2020 with the Cap Times. Find them posted here throughout the week and in print on Jan. 8.
Erin Gillitzer, records and journal clerk: Our goal is starting in 2021 to have all Senate committees use electronic registrations (for public hearings at the Capitol).
Ted Blazel, sergeant at arms: The old system is a paper system. So people show up and fill out a hearing slip with their information: name, address and then the bill and whether they're speaking in favor, opposed or for information only. And then that slip is given to the committee clerk, and that is what the clerk and the committee chair use to call people (to testify) and register which individuals came to the committee. We tried to mimic in large degree the paper slip into electronic form with some tweaks (under our 2019 pilot program).
Gillitzer: So they can walk up and (sign in) with kiosks already set up. Also they can scan a QR code, which takes them to the website, and we also have the website written out if they don't have a way to scan the QR code.
We want to better streamline the process. I work with committee clerks pretty closely, and I've heard from them how long it takes to enter in the names, especially on short deadlines. Sometimes they can't read the names. And of course I like to do things to go paper-less.
Blazel: Other states have started to do it and also it's the way people operate now. I mean, electronically is the pathway to everything ... We also want this to be beneficial for the public, and so we didn't ever want a system that was going to be problematic for the public when they came in. But I think now that people are used to all the electronics and deal with it daily, I think it also makes it easier to start making that transition.
—As told to Briana Reilly