House Advanced Communication

Jan. 30, 2023


Rep Meeks: Alright. Good afternoon, I’d like to officially welcome everyone to the first meeting of the Advanced Communication Information Technology meeting. My name is Representative Stephen Meeks, and I am honored to once again have the opportunity to be able to chair the committee. With me is our brand new Vice-Chair, Representative Jeremy Wooldridge. And Mr. Vice-Chair, I don’t know if you’ve got any words of wisdom, or want to introduce yourself this morning?


Rep Wooldridge: I have no wisdom. I’m just thankful to be here.


Rep Meeks: Alright. Working on our committee, I’m going to introduce our staff and then we’ll, well I’ll go around the room and let everybody introduce themselves. So, to my left here is our committee analyst. He was with us last time, Mr. Blake Gillam. And so, we’re honored to have Mr. Gillam here with us on the committee. Our assistant is Mary Bethbees and she is not here this morning. Of course, our attorney, Miss Stevens, is also not here because she’s busy drafting awesome bills for us. At this time what I’d like to do is, I know we’ve only got about half our Committee here, just crazy morning and some of them have already been caught up in the weather. For the ones that are here, why don’t we go around the room and just say you know, district you’re from and interest you have in technology and so forth. Why don’t we, ladies first? We’ll let Miss Garner go first.


Rep Garner: Thank you , Mr. Chair. I’m Denise Garner. I’m from Fayetteville, District 20 now. I have talked to Representative Meeks several times and so, told him that someone was laughing up there when they put me on this committee. But I have learned so much. And I’m excited to be here, so thank you very much.


Rep Meeks: Okay. Representative Berry, you want to –


Rep S Berry: I’m Stan Berry, district 44, takes in the middle part of Pope County and a little bit of Johnson– Van Buren County. Served on this committee before with Mr. Meeks and enjoy it, hope to be able to help. Thank you.


Rep Meeks: Okay. And our last regular member?


Rep Hawk: Representative R.J. Hawk, district 81. I’m the new guy on the block. So, I do like technology. I like phones, emails, and everything that involves with technology. Now, my district goes Saline County, Bryant, Alexander, and Shannon Hills. Looking forward to being on the Committee. 


Rep Meeks: Alright, we appreciate you being here with us. And to our two alternates who are here, if you two gentlemen go ahead and introduce yourselves?


Rep McClure: Representative McClure, representing portions of Hot Spring and Saline County. As far as communication and technology; I’m old enough to remember when wireless communications was first budding and got in on the first part of that. Just about everything that this does works in with different offices and places that I hold and volunteer in. So this will be a good Committee.


Rep S Richardson: Thank you Mr. Chair. I am Scott Richardson. I’m from district 13, Rogers and Bentonville area. Interest in technology, let’s see. I first started, I did my first network when it was LANtastic. I’ve done everything from build computers all the way through to now my title is Director of Technology for CEI Engineering Northwest Arkansas. I maintain the role there, dealing with mostly end-points but I’ve survived a lot of interesting things in our State. So my interest in this Committee is doing whatever I can to bring a perspective from an end user and the corporate America, to try to help us continue to support the growth of technology in the state. Thank you.


Rep Wooldridge: Hello again. Jeremy Wooldridge, District 1, portions of Greene County, Clay County, Randolph County, and thankful to be here. My estimation, broadband and information technology is a great path to expansion for the State of Arkansas. For many reasons, especially in my area of the State. So definitely have an interest in this committee and honored to serve. Thank you Mr. Chairman.


Rep Meeks: Thank you. We’ll let Miss Brown get settled in, and then, let her introduce herself. 


Rep Brown: Good morning everybody, I’m Karilyn Brown, District 67. Primarily Jacksonville and Sherwood. And I’ve been on this Committee for a few terms. I really enjoy it, and I look forward to what we’re going to be able to do for the people of Arkansas. Thank you.


Rep Meeks: And of course, last but not least, Representative Meeks. I have served the new, brand new District 42, which is Greenbrier up to Fairfield Bay. I have a degree in Technology, and that’s where my interest started and have been serving as Chair of this Committee for a couple terms now. Focusing on broadband and a couple of other issues. So again, looking forward to working with everyone. What I’d like to do now is to go out to the audience and we do have a couple speakers that are going to speak to us in just a minute. But I was going to allow any other agencies or organizations if anybody would like to stand up and just introduce themselves. So the committee can be kind of be getting familiar with the folks that we’re going to be working with in the public and private sector. Anybody like to?


Tucker (Gov Off): I’m Sylvie Tucker. I’m with the Governor’s Office. I specifically work on Economic Development and Tax Issues [inaudible]


Rep Meeks: Alright, thank you. Anyone else?


Jennings (AEDC): Good afternoon, I’m Renee Jennings with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. And I’m [inaudible]


Rep Meeks: Okay.


Howie: Glenn Howie, and I saved you all the introduction.


Rep Meeks: Okay, and definitely at some point we’ll be hearing from Mr. Howie. Yup, definitely.


Williams (INA): Kristie Williams. I’m the General Manager for MSC Arkansas, and I represent the Information Network of Arkansas Board.


Rep Meeks: Okay. Any others? Going once? Going twice? Okay. Moving right along. Because this is a select committee, our rules are just slightly different from the regular standing committee’s. We do have to have six members present in order to make a quorum. And that can also consist of our alternates. But the alternates only count if the primary member is not here. So if anyone is interested in seeing who the alternates and primary members we’ve got that up here. Agendas are prepared in accordance with House rules, provided 2 days in advance. Sponsor notification will be sent to the members who have bills on the agenda 2 days before the committee meeting. Basic rules, just like the other committees. After a bill of resolution has appeared on the Committee agenda, or has been called up for consideration, and the sponsor is not present, it’ll be moved to the bottom of the active. And then after 3 times, it will go to the deferred list. Realistically, I would be surprised if we met more than 3 times. Usually, most sessions,  it’s only 2 or 3 times. 


As always, amendments should be in writing and always make sure you let our staff members know if you do have an amendment. And we can set a special order of business if need be. And generally the way that I work this Committee, if you have a question that you would like to ask during a bill presentation, and then a follow up. Generally speaking I tend to be a little more lax than the other chairmen. If you have a question and a follow up, just go ahead and straight ask your follow up question. If you start getting into 2, 3, 4, 5 follow-ups, then at that point we will probably go on to the next person. But just for efficiency’s sake, if you have a question and a follow up, go ahead and do the question and follow up, and then we’ll go from there. See how things are in the queue. Other than that, I think we’re going to go ahead and jump into our guest. So, this morning, the main agency that we have oversight of is the Department of Information Systems. So, I’m going to let Director Askins, if you would please take the end of the table, as long, as well as any other folks that you might want to bring up with you. And we’ll let you give us just a high level overview of your department. And you’re recognized, sir.


Askins (DIS): Yes sir. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. So I am very cognizant of the fact that I am standing between you and lunch so we will go quickly. Actually, I do want to just breeze through the notes that I’ve prepared. Mainly to offer just the opportunity to have questions. And I typically like dialog, back-and-forth, from a question standpoint rather than going through a presentation. So I’ll quickly tell you what we are. I’ve been the Director of DIS for roughly 2 years now. And when I came in I looked at DIS and I said so we are a division, yes, we are an agency if you will. But what it really gets down to is we’re a B-to-B business. We are a business to business, business. We have, we serve the various departments around the state, 15 departments. We service some cities, we service some other small entities, but those are our customers. And typically, for those of you who don’t know from how we bill folks, is we get our expenses in. We look at those expenses, and then we transfer those to a rate, and we bill the agencies or the department’s at a rate. We’re what is called a “cost recovery agency”. And so when you’re billing someone, they expect a level of customer service. That’s the conversation that I’ve had with our folks from the very get-go, is, we’ve got to start thinking like we are a B-to-B business. We have customers. And our customers have customers. Those are citizens of Arkansas. What I’ve tried to challenge really over the last 18 months is we need to think like a retailer. So how does a retailer think? From a standpoint of , the retail industry went through this about 10 years ago. It’s about how to make things easier for the citizen. Or in the retailer case: how to make things easier for the customer. How do you make the experience the best for the customer? Why do they want to come back? Why do they want to buy from me? I have a lot of competition, maybe the Arkansas doesn’t have a lot of competition in terms of where our citizens go. But we can certainly make things easier for our citizens in terms of doing business with the state. So I’ve challenged us quit thinking like a government division. Think like a retailer. So we’re beginning to do that with a lot of our various customers that we have out there. And I think it’s beginning to make a difference. 


Now, with all of that, comes some complexity. Everything that you make easy on the top means that there’s going to be some complexity down below. Because you’re pushing data back and forth. You’re running analytics, you’re running some business intelligence. You’re making sure that their, that experience is seamless, well that, there’s a lot of data going underneath. What I want to do is share with you all the different types of services that we offer. And then, I think Shelby’s going to talk, Shelby Johnson’s going to talk a little bit about GIS and then we can open it up for questions. 


So the services that we offer, from an end user support standpoint. Think about the work stations, the laptops, the mobile phones, the network and the internet in the various agencies. Those are, so think about us from a plumbing standpoint. We’re the plumbing, from that standpoint. We support all those workstations, and laptops, and mobile phones. We host a lot of systems. We have 3 data centers. We have 1 over at Mac, we have 1 out in South – in West Little Rock, excuse me. And then we have 1 in North Arkansas in Lowell where we are working a partnership with the State Police. Our primary operation right now is in West Little Rock and we have failover – redundancy failover, active-to-active redundancies with the data center in Lowell. We feel like that that’s far enough away if something happens where both those data centers go down. I’m not sure I’ll wanna be here. But we do have our redundancy from an active-to-active standpoint.


About 18 months ago, we started on a major initiative. We took a very, what I would consider to be a very, federated environment, or a very decentralized environment and we have started to centralize that environment. If you want to get right, some people say well, you’re building a private cloud. Possibly, you could look at it that way. But what we’re trying to do is get everything under a single platform, or enterprise platform, a single roof. Then we can begin to understand what our true footprint is. If you have to spin that out to the cloud one of these days, that’s great. A lot of times, if you just spin stuff out to the cloud, without truly understanding the workloads that you’re talking about, you don’t get the savings. You don’t get the benefit of the efficiencies. We’re about 80% complete on that right now. I am very excited to say. I think for the first time in the history of Arkansas, from a IT standpoint, we have everyone on a standard backup. We have standard security frameworks. We have standard disaster recovery. We have standard active-to-active redundancies; and we’re on a standard platform. That is a huge development for us. If you’re talking about understanding your risk, mitigating that risk, what is our risk? We now have a much clearer picture as to what we have, and what we are providing in terms of IT services. In the future, that will also mean cost avoidance for us. Which is critical. So as we begin to get, to gain an understanding of this, we’ll be able to offer some true cost avoidance. And then also, we’ll be able to be in a much better position for business, continuity of business. 


Then I have a team that is called the AR-DATA team. We are operationalizing that AR-DATA team. Think of it as a team that can take data from different sources and we mash that all together, for our very technical term we mash it all together. We create the matches. We create what I would call model-ready data. So the various departments and agencies can run analytics. The beauty and the benefit of this is you are now sharing data where you’ve never been able to do that before. We’ve set up ma – We’ve set up all the Data Sharing Agreements to make sure that we’re in compliance. Make sure that we’re making, from a privacy standpoint, we’re protecting folks’ privacy. But we are beginning to share data so we can look at analytics from a standpoint of true cost savings. What are the outcomes? The buzzword is always Data Driven Decisioning and that is essentially what my AR-DATA team, who’s here with me today. The AR-DATA team enables that. We’re the enablers. We’re not the analytics guys. We’re not the data scientist over at Health or over at DFA. But what we’re enabling is DFA and Health to share their data and understand where our dollars being spent. Are we getting the outcomes that we thought we were going to get? If we’re not getting those outcomes, maybe we can make some tweaks here and there. So this team, largely, enables that process, and that’s what’s called our AR-DATA team. 


From a professional services standpoint we offer customer – I’m sorry, custom application development and management. We can build apps. We can outsource those apps and make sure those apps integrate with the system. We have database administration services. We have an Appscan team that makes sure that our K-12 network and our schools are supported from a standpoint of connectivity, from a standpoint of security, from a standpoint of just problem solving in many cases. Network services. We provide the voice-over internet protocols. So all the phones out there. From a VoiP standpoint, we’re working with that. Our K-12 network, we are continuing to make sure our K-12 network continues to provide. We started off, initially, in 2015, 20 kilobytes per student. We are now up to 1 meg per student; and we’re actually looking at the possibility of taking that to 3. As the need for data from students grows and grows, we are trying to stay ahead of that curve. We operate the state-wide network. And we operate the Wifi services all around the state. 


From a cyber-security standpoint, and I know that is fresh on everyone’s mind. From a cyber-security standpoint we are responsible for creating the policies and standards in the departments. We’re working on making sure that we look at the state as a whole. And, one of the things that I challenge all of our folks is when you have a problem, even if it’s not in our jurisdiction so to speak. If you have a problem and let’s just say Stuttgart, Arkansas. It’s Stuttgart, comma, Arkansas. It doesn’t matter if it’s Stuttgart, what matters is that it’s the State of Arkansas and it reflects on the State of Arkansas. Even though my team’s jurisdiction, so to speak, is the departments around the state. We’re going to help all of our local municipalities, our counties, our schools, because there’s always that comma Arkansas. So that’s the mantra of our team. That’s our M O. As we’re starting to establish standards that our schools can use, that our counties can use, that our cities can use. What we’re doing is mitigating our risk. And what we’re doing is trying to make sure that our folks are protected. The bad guys are always going to be there, but our folks are protected. And we mitigate that risk as best we can. We’re doing that with the Executive Branch, K-12. We’re building an incident response team. A lot of times we’re having to use third parties for that, but we’re building an incident response team that can do that here in Arkansas. 


And then our team is also administering the FEMA Cyber Security Grant; and that goes to all of the local municipalities, counties and schools. It cannot, it is not being – you can use 20% of it at the state level. We’ve elected to only use 5% of that at the state level and push that out to the locals. I’d rather that money go out to the locals. We’ll be doing that from the standpoint of training, floating all the boats so to speak. Getting everyone up to speed on the types of standards that we need to have, the types of things that we need to do to protect ourselves. A lot of these things, they don’t cost a lot of money. It’s just a matter of making sure that we’re doing things correctly. That’s what our cyber team does. And then, we’ve got 6-8-2-HELP. If you’ve got a problem 6-8-2-HELP. And so we have call centers that handle that. But again, it all comes back to, who’s the customer here? Who is the customer? Is it an agency? Is it a city? Is it a county? Is it a school? We don’t care. Who’s the customer? We want to make sure that we start treating folks like customers, we act like retailers, we act like a B-to-B business. That’s DIS at a whole, from a standpoint. I apologize, I rushed through that but I really did want to make sure that we have time for questions. And also, Shelby, I think, are you going to speak to GIS? Or are we? 


Rep Meeks: Well, let’s finish up with your department and then we’ll move over to the deal. 


Askins (DIS): Okay.


Rep Meeks: And just from my perspective. I just wanted to say thank you for the work you’ve done. I’ve been very impressed by what you’ve done with the agency over there. The AR-DATA is something that’s based on legislation that this Committee helped pass back in 2017-2018 and seeing the fruits from that are exciting. And you did speak about the cyber security. Would you introduce the cyber security officer in the back of the room so everybody can kind of put a name with the face with that?


Askins (DIS): Sure will. Sure. Come on up, Gary. 


Rep Meeks: And we’ll maybe let him introduce himself. Maybe at a future meeting, maybe go into a little more depth, but I at least want him to introduce himself to the Committee. Just a couple seconds talk about the cyber security. Because that’s going to be a big issue and I actually have legislation that will be coming to the Committee at some point on that.


Vance (DIS): Sure, thank you, Mr. Chairman. My name is Gary Vance. I’ve been with the state just short of 2 years. My background is 25+ years in cyber and IT, starting with the Department of Defense, and then moving into the private sector and most recently the State of Arkansas. So as Jonathon said we’re heavily focused right now on trying to develop a set of state-wide cyber security minimums and standards. We feel like if we can take an enterprise approach with removing the, in my private sector terms, removing the lines of business, which would be K-12, or a county, or a city, cyber to cyber. The cyber standards and the cyber minimums, and cyber policies apply unilaterally, right? Bad actors are, they’re not concerned about political affiliation or if you’re a county or a state agency. So we have to take an enterprise, statewide standards approach. For me personally, I take a very strong risk management approach to cyber. When I talk to folks, like who’re here today, I like to speak in terms of risk, and risk mitigation, and risk reduction. That is one of the ways I will have my conversation with Jonathon and others. Are we effectively managing our risk? And I try to always put a risk context to cyber.


Rep Meeks: Thank you, gentlemen. And kind of the other leg of that stool is once those standards are developed we want to make sure that our cities and counties and agencies have the proper training. But then the last aspect of it is to make sure those standards are in place. Which leads me to Mr. Coles. If you would stand, real quickly. Would you introduce yourself to the committee?


Coles (Leg Audit): Sure. Thank you. My name is David Coles. I’m with Arkansas Legislative Audit. I’m the supervisor over the IS Audit Function for Audit. We audit and review security in the cities and counties, K-12, higher education, and state agencies. We been doing it for over 20 years. And I work with Mr. Askins and Mr. Vance pretty closely. We’ve developed a good rapport. I think our end goal is security for the State of Arkansas.


Rep Meeks: Mm-hm.


Coles (Leg Audit): Jonathon uses his comma Arkansas I’m gonna get him a shirt, I think, that says that. [laughter] But I like where they’re going, I like where we’re going. I see momentum; and thanks to you, some of the legislation that’s been passed in the last few years heads us in the right direction.


Rep Meeks: Thank you sir. And so ultimately the goal is, is they’ll develop the standards that Mr. Coles and the audit team will be able to audit to. And then if the agencies are not following those standards, then at some point they get to come here to the legislature and explain why. That way we keep that accountability to make sure we’re being proactive in taking care of the citizens of Arkansas. The last thing I’ll mention, and then we’ll go to questions, that I want to do a shout out is on our K-12 network. Arkansas, we don’t hype on this enough, we were one of the first states in the country to get all of our schools connected. And to date, we still have some of the fastest speeds and best service to our schools in the country. I just wanted to make, get that out there so y’all know what a success story that’s been. That we get kind of a reputation for being a rural state, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be first in these technologies. So I appreciate everyone’s work there. We’re going to go to questions. Representative Brown, I think you were first with questions?


Rep Brown: Thank you Mr. Chair. Mr. Askins, and you might have already touched on this, and it just went right over my head. [laughter] But, you know we’re talking about data sharing amongst agencies. Are we getting to the point know where we can start, maybe, well one of the examples, I like to work with examples. 


Askins (DIS): Sure.


Rep Brown: One of the examples we talked about is when you have a parent who is not paying their child support. Are we going to be able to go over and look and see if that parent has bought a hunting or fishing license, and find out their address? Because a lot of them do go hunting and fishing. 


Askins (DIS): Okay.


Rep Brown: So are we going to be able to do that soon?


Askins (DIS): Yes, ma’am. That will depend on the various agencies involved, or the departments involved. But any time you create a statewide longitudinal data source like we have our system, like we have, that does stitch together the different identities. And it does stitch together the different representations or associations they have with the State of Arkansas. From a delivery of service standpoint, that will certainly enable us to deliver services more efficiently. But also, and this where I talked about maybe cost avoidance, it will help us to understand where the waste is, where the fraud is, where the abuse is. There’s really 2 prongs to that system. Being able to deliver services more efficiently, and the second is, we can understand where the waste is and we can work to eliminate that. So yes ma’am, this, our system does enable that. Yes ma’am.


Rep Brown: Thank you. One other comment, and our Chair did not mention it. But his vision was that at some point in the future that a resident of Arkansas could go online and renew their driver’s license, register their vehicle, get their fishing license, all those things in one spot. 


Askins (DIS): That’s a–


Rep Brown: Without having to go to each individual. 


Askins (DIS): That’s a tremendous vision. And when I say think like a retailer? That’s how a retailer would think. A retailer would think how do I make it easy for the citizen of Arkansas to do business with Arkansas?. Yes ma’am, that is – I share that vision. As I said, that’s a tough vision because sometimes the easy on the top there’s a lot of connection on the bottom.


Rep Brown: Yes sir.


Askins (DIS): But that is a very good vision and I would support that. Yes, ma’am.


Rep Brown: Wonderful. Thank you.


Rep Meeks: And along with that, and I know you’ve kind of got it here on your paper, is with all this data going back and forth. Not only is the cyber a concern but the privacy of that citizen is concern. And so we do have a Chief Privacy Officer to make sure that is all protected. And I’m wondering if you could just talk about that for a minute and I think our Chief Privacy Officer is in the room.


Askins (DIS): She is.


Rep Meeks: And kind of do that introduction as well?


Askins (DIS): Sure. And I apologize, I did, I skipped a page. I skipped Jennifer’s page. Jennifer,  I’m sorry about that.


Davis (DIS): It’s okay


Askins (DIS): But from a privacy standpoint, Jennifer looks at all of the data sharing agreements that we have in place. And she makes sure that from not only from a just a pure privacy of P-I-I, but she makes sure that we’re doing things from a good data stewardship standpoint. Who are the data stewards? Who are the users? How are they using this data? Where is the data going? All those things are huge concerns from us, not only from a privacy standpoint, but also from a security standpoint. So Jennifer works very closely with Gary in terms of making sure that privacy meshes with security, and that we’re being very good stewards with P-I-I health, whatever type of data that we have. That we’re making sure we’re in compliance. 


Rep Meeks: And does she want to come up and real quick introduce herself  just so everyone knows. 


Davis (DIS): Not really.


Rep Meeks: Not really? [laughter] Our Chief Privacy Officer is shy.


Davis (DIS): Jennifer Davis– Jennifer Davis, I’m your state’s Chief Privacy Officer.


Rep Meeks: Okay, and does anybody have any questions related to this? Alright, seeing none. We appreciate your service to the state. Thank you. 


 Askins (DIS): Appreciate y’all


Rep Meeks: Alright, now any other questions for Mr. Askins this morning? Okay, Representative Berry?


Rep S Berry: We were talking about shared services just as second ago. All the fiber that’s being placed on the Interstate, up and down the Interstate. Has the Department of Transportation ever consulted with you guys and maybe whether you could use some of those fibers that they’re getting for, for right-of-way? To go from A-to-B?


Askins (DIS): Well, I would let Glenn talk to that from more of a broadband standpoint. But I will say that as transportation, and we’re building a good rapport with DOT. Charles Brown, their CIO, and myself have a conversation about once a week. I will say that as that fiber is being laid, regardless of who that vendor is, or who the operator is on that, from a standpoint of, we’re beginning to understand that. We’ve used a lot of different providers to be able to provide fiber connectivity to our parks, really for the first time. So as they are starting to spread out and branch out, we are being able to utilize that. Does that answer your question?


Rep S Berry: Well I, it’s my understanding there’s a lot of dark fibers that are negotiated with the Highway Department for the right-of-way. Traded for the right-of-way instead of dollars.


Askins (DIS): Right.


Rep S Berry: And it just looks like there’s some opportunities there to be able to use some of those dark fibers to run some of our own data. Contrary to the Highway Department’s belief, those do belong to the state in my opinion. And it looks like that there’s a, some opportunities there for us.


Askins (DIS): I’ll be happy to explore that.


Rep Meeks: Little bit of – I don’t know, Mr. Howie is that something that you’d want to add real quick. I’m thinking, I don’t know if that’s a rabbit trail we don’t want to go too far down today, but if you’ve got few brief comments to maybe help the representative then.


Howie: Yeah, thank you Representative. Glenn Howie, State Department Director. I started this role in August, and my previous stint in Louisiana. I know that DOTD down there was not very fond of sharing its assets with state-funded projects that we would normally do through our grant programs. Now I think you make a very good point, and that would be something much like to explore with DOT here in Arkansas. So those are conversations that we can have and I would welcome those conversations. But we have not had them to date at this point.


Rep Meeks: Okay. Any other questions Committee? Alright, seeing none. Gentlemen, thank you for your presentation, and your service, and we’ll look forward to learning more in the future. At this time, I’d like to call up our GIS Director, and let him introduce himself and any of his staff and just a brief overview of his department.


Johnson (GIS): Good afternoon. I’m Shelby Johnson, I’m the Director of our state’s Geographic Information System. I’ve got the coolest job in the world. And I wanted to share with you some of our history. We’re a little over 20 years old and we were actually born out of this Committee in about 2002-2003 time frame. Back in that era, a lot of different departments in the state were building Geographic Information System data and there became a recognition that it’s costly to build that data. And it would make great sense if we did it in a coordinated fashion, or a coordinated way. And so we developed a really catchy tag phrase, that’s real easy to remember; and that’s kind of what we’ve followed. And it’s create it once, and then reuse it a bunch and that’s what we do. We act as a warehouse and distribution center for your state’s geographic information. And that goes for addresses, roads, boundaries of all kinds, including legislative districts. Elevation, terrain, transportation, water, utilities, etcetera. And what we’re able to do is we’re able to work with local government. We roll up that data to the state and then coordinate it to a standard, and then publish it so it can be reused.


 I wanted to give you a really good example. I reached out last week to my, one of my colleagues. We tend to always talk about examples where different agencies within the state share and reuse this information. But I thought I would try to share a story about how it’s used outside of the state government. So I reached out to one of my colleagues at Arkansas One-Call. So if you’re going to dig somewhere in Arkansas you must call this number and ensure that you don’t tear up underground infrastructure of all sorts of kinds.  Telecommunications, gas, water, electric, so on. Arkansas One-Call uses geographic information to query where is that address for that locate. But then, who’s service territory does it fall in? And they use our data to be able to do that. And last week they processed over 7,600 locate requests in Arkansas, and they use Geographic Information Systems to be able to process that request very quickly. Analyze where is this locate request at? And then who do we assign it to, and what utilities need to be contacted. 


So that’s a really good example of how this coordinated data is published in a central warehouse, and then it can be used and shared by a lot of different folks in state and local government, in private sector, K-12, and also higher ed. We’re pleased to support our colleagues in all of the other agencies and departments. I might mention we work very closely to support Glenn in the broadband location challenges. As well as the most recent projects that his team was sponsoring to push through those dollars out to those providers to build out additional infrastructure. We play a very small role in that, helping to map that so that providers can understand where the areas were that they were bidding on. But those are a couple of the quick examples of how we help support both departments in the state and local government, and then private sector as well. I know what time it is so I want to stop right there and just see if there’s any questions. 


Rep Meeks: Just kind of an example along those lines. if I type in an address on my phone because I’m trying to get someplace and it drops a pin right on top of that building? That initial data came from your agency, correct?


Johnson (GIS): Well, actually, no.


Rep Meeks: No? Okay.


Johnson (GIS): It probably came from the addressing authority in one of our counties or one of our cities. 


Rep Meeks: Mmmm.


Johnson (GIS): But what they then do is they share it up with the state, and then we warehouse and publish it to a common standard. But yes, it ultimately does run through us. I might also add,  I think it’s probably important to add, we also try to share it with the private sector. So Google, Apple, for example, are both huge consumers of that location data that is used by all of the consumers that have that on their smart devices. We try to share that with them. Sometimes they don’t uptake it as fast as we would like. But our biggest challenges are coordinating those unique situations where we’ve got a missing road or a missing address, things like that have happened quite a lot. 


Rep Meeks: And at one point, we didn’t have all 75 counties done, but I think that has been accomplished. Is that correct, or do we still have 1 or 2 outstanding?


Johnson (GIS): We’re getting close. 


Rep Meeks: Okay.


Johnson (GIS): Thank you for asking that softball. We’ve got, Independence county on the address file, is, they’re nearly done. And then the other county that we were waiting on an address file was Conway county; we got it last week.


Rep Meeks: Woo.


Johnson (GIS): And then on our tax parcel file, which I can’t tell you how many times that’s used, we monitor that service and it’s something on the order of 90 million views a year. That particular file, the only county remaining in Arkansas is Fulton County. And so we’re almost, we’re drawing in on getting it all done.


Rep Meeks: Excellent, excellent. Alright, Representative Hawk, you had a question, sir?


Rep Hawk: Not really a question rather than, thank you, Mr. Chairman, by the way.


Rep Meeks: Mm-hmm


Rep Hawk: It’s not really a question. I’m just going to say, as somebody who uses this GIS all the time as a local real estate guy in Saline County. I’ve actually had clients here within the last 3 weeks that are from out-of-state that are looking to bring their business to Arkansas. I get on the GIS system and you guys recently did an update, I guess within the last year, of some of the stuff and they even said that our GIS is probably one of the best in the South. Because they’ve used others and it was outstanding. So I just wanted to commend you for that.


Johnson (GIS): Thank you very much! Very pleased to hear that feedback.


Rep Hawk: Thank you.


Rep Meeks: Thank you. We’ve got a lot of great things happening in our state and sometimes our citizens don’t know all the success stories. So I appreciate you bringing that to us. Any other questions from the Committee? Alright, hearing none. Mr. Shelby, thank you. And thank you for the work you do. Colleagues, seeing no other business before the Committee, we are adjourned.