HD63 - Report of the Joint Commission on Technology and Science

Executive Summary:
To continue the work begun by the Task Force on Science and Technology established under House Joint Resolution 390 (1993), the 1996 General Assembly adopted House Joint Resolution 195, which created a joint legislative subcommittee to study science and technology. The subcommittee reported to the Governor and the 1997 General Assembly in House Document No. 81 (1997). The creation of the Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS) was included among the recommendations of the subcommittee. Created by the 1997 General Assembly through House Bill 2138, JCOTS is a permanent legislative commission charged to 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 (five Delegates and four Senators); submitted its first report to the Governor and the 1998 General Assembly in House Document No. 89 (1998); and maintains a website at http://legis.state.va.us/jcots/jcots.htm.

At its meeting on May 13, 1998, JCOTS adopted its 1998-1999 workplan. (See Appendix 1.) The workplan identified four issues for study through the establishment and work of advisory committees, co-chaired by JCOTS members: Internet Access (Delegate Bennett and Senator Newman, co-chairs); State Agency Applications (Delegate Purkey and Senator Schrock, co- chairs); Year 2000 (Delegate May and Senator Howell, co-chairs); and Uniform Commercial Code Revised Article 2B (Delegate Diamonstein and Senator Ticer, co-chairs). An advisory committee on workforce training issues, co-chaired by Senators Howell and Newman, also developed during the study interim. During the period from September to December 1998, advisory committees held six meetings. Approximately 40 people participated in JCOTS' work through membership on advisory committees. Advisory committee reports, presented to JCOTS at meetings on November 18 and December 18, 1998, were adopted by the full commission.

JCOTS workplan also identified new issues to be introduced at full commission meetings through testimony and presentations, possible field trips, and other issues to be monitored throughout the study year. To accomplish these objectives, JCOTS met as a full commission six times from May 1998 to January 1999. Members of the House Committee on Science and Technology, established during the 1998 Session, were always invited and often attended these meetings. (More information about the committee is available from the General Assembly's website at http://legis.state.va.us.) At its meeting on January 13, 1999, JCOTS finalized its legislative and budget recommendations for the 1999 Session, which included 24 bills and resolutions and 11 budget amendments. (See Appendix 2.)