That includes three measures to pay for major computer projects, including $18.6 million to modernize the state’s criminal history repository. Mindy McKay, who manages the repository, confirmed that could be reduced by $3 million using reserves.
Superintendent of Education Jhone Ebert urged lawmakers to fund the modernization of the system, saying school districts have to get background checks on more than 15,000 teachers every school year through the repository.
“We depend heavily on this network,” she said.
The other two are infusions to Gaming Control and the Department of Taxation to replace computer systems based on the more than 30-year-old COBOL programming language. Not only is that language obsolete, officials have said it’s getting very difficult to find programmers who know how to use COBOL.
A total of $5.4 million will go to Gaming Control to continue the process of replacing its antiquated system. Another $2.9 million will begin the process of modernizing the Unified Tax System.
The other big-ticket item on the list is $12.9 million to the Department of Public Safety, primarily to replace highway patrol vehicles that have reached their mileage limit.
DPS auctions off those older vehicles and a spokesman said because of shortages of new vehicles, the average price they get has risen some 20 percent in the past year.
The list includes 159 patrol cars, 19 pickup trucks and utility vehicles and seven NHP motorcycles. A spokesman said they replace about 20 percent of their fleet every year.
But the bill also includes items such as supplies for drug testing in the field, mobile tablets, printers and other equipment.