HD89 - Report of the Joint Commission on Technology and Science

Executive Summary:
The Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS) was created by the 1997 Virginia General Assembly through House Bill 2138. JCOTS is a permanent legislative commission charged to generally study all aspects of technology and science and to promote the development of technology and science in the Commonwealth of Virginia through sound public policies. (See Chapter 11 (§ 30-85 et seq.) of Title 30 of the Code of Virginia.) JCOTS consists of nine legislators from the Virginia General Assembly (five Delegates and four Senators).

At its first meeting on July 1, 1997, JCOTS adopted its 1997-1998 workplan. (See Appendix 1.) The workplan called for in-depth study of six issues:

• Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996;
• Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission's study of Virginia's data processing and information technology services;
• Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission's study of Year 2000 compatibility;
• Council on Information Management's implementation of digital signatures;
• Civil and criminal laws; and
• Blueprint for Technology-Based Economic Growth.

To assist its study, JCOTS established six advisory committees comprised of people with expertise in the issue under consideration by each advisory committee. JCOTS members served as chair or co-chair of each advisory committee. Over 80 people participated in JCOTS' work through advisory committees. (See Appendix 6.) During the period from July 1997 to March 1998, JCOTS met as a full commission seven times; advisory committees held an additional nine meetings. Each advisory committee reported to JCOTS on January 5, 1998. With slight modifications, JCOTS adopted each advisory committee report. Based on the reports, JCOTS made its findings and recommendations and developed legislative proposals for the 1998 Session of the General Assembly. JCOTS proposed ten bills and eight joint resolutions. (See Appendix 2.)