RD25 - Annual Report of the Joint Commission on Technology and Science

    Executive Summary:
    The Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS), a permanent legislative agency created in 1997 by the General Assembly, is charged with studying all aspects of technology and science, to promote the development of technology and science in the Commonwealth through sound public policies, and to report its findings annually to the Governor and General Assembly (see Chapter 11 of Title 30 of the Code of Virginia, § 30-85 et seq.)

    The 2005 Session of the General Assembly referred several bills to JCOTS for review and study. These included HJ 689 (Nixon) directing JCOTS to study the availability and feasibility of using electronic toll collection across the Commonwealth, HB 1830 (Parrish) relating to the use of cellular phones while driving, HB 2467 (May) relating to online dating, HB 2495 (Keister) relating to the performance of procurement contracts by United States citizens, HB 2721 (Scott, J.M.) relating to notification of database breaches, and SB 1053 (Wagner) relating to the assignment of intellectual property by public institutions of higher education. In addition, JCOTS identified other topics for study including the feasibility of using underground transmission lines, the use of soil stabilizers on soft road shoulders, education and workforce training, a continued discussion of the needs of the nanotechnology industry in the Commonwealth, an assessment of the modeling and simulation industry, alternative energy resources, biometrics, event data recorders, and a continued discussion with the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) concerning its work.

    JCOTS undertook its work through six advisory committees: a Privacy Advisory Committee, an Integrated Government Advisory Committee, a Nanotechnology Advisory Committee, a Modeling and Simulation Advisory Committee, and Intellectual Property Advisory Committee, and an Emerging Technologies Advisory Committee. The groups met throughout the 2005 Interim, and made several recommendations to JCOTS. Recommendations adopted by JCOTS include:

    • A study resolution directing the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission to study the factors considered by the State Corporation Commission in deciding whether to place transmission lines overhead or underground, and an assessment of the total costs associated with decisions related to transmission lines;

    • Direction to staff to develop a report on alternative and renewable energies;

    • A recognition of the need for JCOTS to continue to study the development and needs of the nanotechnology and modeling & simulation industries in the Commonwealth;

    • Legislation streamlining the intellectual property assignment process between state universities and third parties;

    • A letter to be sent under the chairman's signature to the Virginia's Congressional Delegation, urging the passing of federal database breach legislation;

    • A report relating to electronic tolling technologies pursuant to HJ 689;

    • A letter to the executive branch urging the adoption of a "dashboard" program on agency websites, when appropriate;

    • A resolution to create a joint subcommittee to study science and technology education in the Commonwealth; and

    • Direction to staff to review other state's programs relating to technology development, incubation, and technology transfer.

    A more detailed report outlining the work of JCOTS during the 2005 Interim will be submitted at a later date.