The State of Michigan continues its series of technology initiatives. Last year’s major effort was the creation of the CyberCourt, first proposed by Gov. John Engler in his January 2001 State of the State address. Legislation creating the court was passed in December 2001 and was signed by the governor on January 9, 2002. See the site maintained at
http://www.michigancybercourt.net/ for more details. Observers expect that
the Michigan CyberCourt will be a model for other states to follow.
In August 2001, the governor signed an Executive Order creating a new Department of Information Technology, as part of his e-Michigan project. See the announcement at http://www.michigan.gov/emi/1,1303,7-102-116-3049–,00.html.
The most recent project is LinkMichigan, under which the state will use
financial incentives to encourage private business to bring broadband internet access to all homes and businesses in all communities in Michigan. Information and resources on this project can be found at
http://linkmichigan.michigan.org/resources.html. The basic components of
this effort are (1) development of a statewide system for obtaining rights of way and issuing permits for telecommunications (2) creation of a finance authority to support telecommunications infrastructure improvements. Included in the latter is a “Communications Infrastructure Fund” to be used to provide seed capital and grants to providers in underserved areas.
Gov. Engler has long advocated the use of internet technology to make the
functions of state and local governments available to the people of the state. With these series of initiatives in his last year in office, he wants to ensure that one of his legacies is the promotion of technology as a spur to Michigan’s economy in the future.