COLUMBUS – On Wednesday, April 14, State Rep. Sharon Ray (R-Wadsworth) gave testimony on the first hearing for House Bill 230, which requires the Ohio Department of Administrative Services (DAS) to provide a plan to enhance their information and technology (IT) systems. Ray, a joint sponsor of the bill, spoke to it in the House Technology and Innovation Committee.
“This bill is a direct result of an issue experienced by one of my constituents,” said Ray. “Brian Hilberg from Medina sent in an application for a liquor permit just before Thanksgiving.
As the weeks went by and he had not received any communication, he began calling to follow up by phone and email – with no response. I received an email from a frustrated Brian on January 31, 2021, and immediately followed up with an email to the Department of Commerce.”
Ray continued in committee to mention she received an immediate yet “disappointing response” from the Department of Commerce, specifically, that the liquor permitting process is paper-based and the system is from 1997. Additionally, Ray added that the department was months behind on physical mail requests.
Ray has also worked to address this issue by submitting a separate amendment to the state budget that will study Ohio’s IT systems for each of the state’s agencies.
Ray notes that both the bill and the study intend to analyze and determine IT needs. Ray is optimistic that the legislation will help put a plan in place for next possible steps to enhance these systems.
“We can and should do better for our constituents. The businesses trying to invest in our economy during this very difficult time need us to be responsive to their needs and modernizing outdating computer systems is a way we can help,” Ray added.
Ray is a joint sponsor of the legislation alongside State Rep. Thomas Hall (R-Madison Twp.) with nearly 20 cosponsors. The bill now awaits its second hearing.