The State Worker

Lawmakers consider bill to fix another troubled California state computer system

Assembly member Kristin Olsen (R) Modesto has proposed tighter legislative scrutiny of the BreEZe IT project.
Assembly member Kristin Olsen (R) Modesto has proposed tighter legislative scrutiny of the BreEZe IT project. rbenton@sacbee.com

UPDATE: The committee passed the bill on a 14-0 vote on Tuesday.

Another budget-busting state computer system, another bill.

This time it’s the Department of Consumer Affairs’ BreEZe project and Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen’s measure, which would heighten scrutiny on the troubled IT project.

The department wanted BreEZe to unify a patchwork of aging computer systems used by 37 boards and bureaus that regulate everything from registered nurses to funeral directors. A limited launch in October 2013 quickly bogged down, however. Backlogs ensued, including delays for nurse licensing applications that caused graduates to lose job opportunities.

Meanwhile the project’s estimated cost has ballooned from $27 million to $96 million. The figure includes $17.5 million recently approved to finish a rollout to a total 18 boards and bureaus by year’s end. It’s not clear what will happen with the remaining entities still outside the system.

Olsen’s measure, Assembly Bill 507, requires Consumer Affairs to submit annual reports to the Legislature and the Department of Finance. The reports would explain the IT plans for those other 19 boards and a cost-benefit analysis supporting those plans. The reports must include “a description of whether and to what extent the system will achieve any operational efficiencies resulting from implementation,” according to a committee analysis of the measure.

AB 507 is on the Assembly Committee on Business and Professions agenda when it meets at 9 a.m. today. You can listen in by clicking here.

Call Jon Ortiz, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1043.

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