RD93 - Annual Report of the Joint Commission on Technology and Science (2009)

    Executive Summary:
    Created by the 1997 Session of the General Assembly by House Bill 2138, JCOTS is a permanent legislative commission charged to study 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.

    JCOTS began its 2009 work with an organizational meeting on April 22, 2009. At that meeting, JCOTS adopted a work plan for the 2009 Interim. Senate Bill 1229, relating to data base breaches involving medical information, was referred to JCOTS and the Joint Commission on Health Care (JCHC) for study by the 2009 Session of the General Assembly. JCOTS appointed Delegate Sam Nixon and Senator William Wampler to represent JCOTS in working with JCHC in reviewing and studying the legislation. In addition, JCOTS recommended that Delegate Joe May, Delegate Sam Nixon, Delegate Kenneth Alexander, and Senator John Watkins continue the work begun in 2007 with the Freedom of Information Advisory Council concerning access to Social Security Numbers.

    Delegate May, chairman of JCOTS, continued the JCOTS Executive Committee from 2008, and tasked it with reviewing other topics or issues that might arise during the Interim. During the Interim, the Executive Committee heard reports and updates concerning issues such as electronic spam, aerospace, sexting, open education, electronics recycling, and electronic meeting requirements.

    During the course of the Interim, JCOTS also received several reports and briefings concerning broadband, underground transmission lines, vehicle-miles-traveled programs, and the Virginia Geographic Information Network, as well as updates from the Chief Information Officer of the Commonwealth, the Secretary of Technology, and the president of the Center for Innovative Technology.

    JCOTS received the following reports at its final meeting of the Interim on December 2, 2009:

    • Medical Database Breach Subcommittee

    The JCOTS Medical Database Breach Subcommittee met with JCHC representatives during the Interim to discuss SB 1229. The subcommittee reviewed recent changes to federal law that would require entities subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and certain Federal Trade Commission regulations to provide notice of breaches involving medical information. However, it became apparent that certain entities -- such as state and local government agencies -- may not be subject to these federal requirements. No formal legislative recommendations were made by the joint JCOTS/JCHC committee. However, Delegate Nixon prepared legislation to recommend to JCOTS that would require notification of database breaches involving medical information by entities not otherwise required by federal law. A motion to recommend this legislation to the General Assembly failed to pass.

    • Social Security Numbers

    Staff reviewed the data collected from state and local entities regarding existing practices concerning collection of Social Security Numbers (SSN). In response to the data collected, it was recommended that the approach recently adopted by North Carolina and Florida be adopted. This approach would amend existing law, poised to go into effect July 1, 2010, to limit agency collection of social security numbers to instances where collection is (i) required by state or federal law, or (ii) imperative for the performance of the agency's duties as prescribed by law. Technical changes to the existing law were also recommended. JCOTS voted to recommend these changes to the 2010 Session of the General Assembly

    • Intellectual Property

    Legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2009 required the Secretary of Administration to develop policies regarding the ownership of intellectual property by state employees, and to report on the policy to JCOTS. Secretary of Administration Viola Baskerville provided an update to JCOTS during its final meeting of 2009. Secretary Baskerville reported that work had begun on the policy, but she recommended that the workgroup creating the policy continue its work in 2010. JCOTS recommended that the legislation requiring the creation of the policy be amended to allow the work to continue in 2010.