House Committee on Advanced Communications and Information Technology

February 13, 2023

Rep Meeks: All right, the Advanced Technology Committee will come to order, the Chair sees a quorum. Colleagues, we only have one bill today. We’re going to do House Bill 1328. House Bill 1369, we’re going to pass over that, that one’s still a work in progress. And so I want to hand the Committee over to our very capable Vice-Chair and I’m going to head down to the end of the table.

Rep Wooldridge: Thank you, Representative Meeks. Will you please introduce yourself for the record?

Rep Meeks: Good morning, Committee, Representative Stephen Meeks, and with me is Director Shelby Johnson over at GIS. And this morning, we’re presenting to you House Bill 1328, this is simply a government efficiency bill. Back in 2002, 2003, they set up the Arkansas spatial data infrastructure. And it was a project that took I don’t know, about 10 years, 12 years or so to complete. And so there was in statute a report that was required to be submitted to this Committee yearly to give us a progress report on the building of that infrastructure.

That infrastructure is in place, has been in place for the last 10 years. And so this report is no longer needed. So this is just an opportunity to free them up from having to present this report to us since the infrastructure is in place. So with that, we will take any questions from the Committee.

Rep Wooldridge: Any questions from the Committee? Representative Hawk, you’re recognized.

Rep Hawk: So no report at all, not even like an every 5 year report or anything like that? It’s just not necessary I assume?

Rep Meeks: It’s just not necessary. So the purpose of the report was progress on getting the infrastructure set up just to make sure it was being set up and how. And it’s been set up and it’s been set up for at least 10 years so it’s basically, we get a report every year that says that the database is up and running. So it just, it’s superfluous at this point.

Rep Wooldridge: Representative Brown, you’re recognized.

Rep Brown: Thank you, Mr. Chair. What is spatial data? Can you just tell us what this is?

Rep Meeks: I’m going to pass that over to the expert.

Johnson GIS: Thank you, Representative Brown. It’s anything that you might imagine that needs to go on a map and the big difference is that we put it into the servers that the system resides on. So roads, addresses, tax parcels, your House district, school board zones, any of your election geography. Soils, terrain, aerial imagery, it’s information about Arkansas that goes on a map. And then we warehouse it, publish it, and make it available for all of our state to be able to use and take advantage of.

Rep Brown: Just one follow-up, does it include the mudslide areas?

Johnson GIS: That is a level of detail that we do not have, our colleagues over at the Geological Survey work on that but that’s something that we don’t have in the statewide platform.

Rep Brown: I was just kind of amazed at how big a deal mudslides are in Arkansas. I mean, I didn’t even know we had any.

Johnson GIS: Yep, we sure do.

Rep Brown: Thank you.

Rep Meeks: Learned something new today.

Rep Wooldridge: Any other questions from the Committee? Anyone in the audience signed up to speak for or against the bill? Seeing none, Representative Meeks, you’re recognized to close for your bill.

Rep Meeks: We’re a close for the bill. And I would make a motion do pass.

Rep Wooldridge: All right, we have a motion do pass, all in favor? All opposed? Congratulations, Representative Meeks, you’ve passed your bill.

Rep Meeks: Thank you, Committee. 

Rep Meeks: So I will commend our Vice-Chair, that’s his very first time doing a committee. He did a very good job, so Mr. Vice-Chair, you did a good job, thank you. All right, colleagues, having nothing else to come before the Committee we are adjourned.