The paperless office is here.Thirty years ago, they said these dandy new machines called computers were going to dispense with To permit the neglect or omission of, as a form, a ceremony, an oath; to suspend the operation of, as a law; to give up, release, or do without, as services, attention, etc.; to forego; to part with
To allow by dispensation; to excuse; to exempt; to grant dispensation to or for. paperwork altogether. Well, not quite, but this Missouri lawmaker is coming close.
Stepping into Representative Rob Schaaf's small, out-of-the way office in the stately old Missouri Capitol is like crossing a threshold into the future.
There are none of the trappings of most legislative offices--no secretary to greet visitors and handle the typing, no filing cabinet overflowing o·ver·flow
v. o·ver·flowed, o·ver·flow·ing, o·ver·flows
1. To flow or run over the top, brim, or banks.
2. To be filled beyond capacity, as a container or waterway.
3. with documents. But if Schaaf, a freshman Republican from St. Joseph, has stepped out, his legislative assistant invites visitors to have a seat in front of a digital camera--and leave a message on videodisc videodisc or videodisk, disk used with a special player and television to reproduce both pictures and sound. A videodisc player cannot record television programs off the air for later playback, unlike a videocassette recorder (VCR) or recordable .
Business cards, meeting notices and other documents delivered to the office are promptly scanned into a computer. And wherever he may be, Schaaf checks messages and committee schedules by tapping his personal digital assistant--a wireless hand-held computer Noun 1. hand-held computer - a portable battery-powered computer small enough to be carried in your pocket
portable computer - a personal computer that can easily be carried by hand .
In a building where thousands of pounds of documents are generated weekly during the legislative session and lawmakers lug (1) (Linux Users Group) A formal or informal organization of Linux users who gather together virtually or in person to exchange information and resources. Some groups maintain mailing lists and send out newsletters for their members. oversized o·ver·size
1. A size that is larger than usual.
2. An oversize article or object.
adj. o·ver·size also o·ver·sized
Larger in size than usual or necessary. binders from meeting to meeting, Schaaf and his office are virtually paperless.
And that's exactly how Schaaf, a physician with a fondness for digital technology prefers it.
"My goal is to be a pioneer," said Schaaf, who also holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics. "My goal is to allow the people to see more deeply into the legislative process by making myself more available and trying to give them more opportunity to have input."
Schaaf, 46, created his virtual office with his own high-powered computer, his legislative assistant's video technology and some equipment provided by the state.
"My calendar is completely unmanageable without it," Schaaf said.
As a freshman lawmaker, Schaaf said, he has an advantage over colleagues because he can sift through information quickly on a computer and doesn't need to go mining in a mountain of paper.
"The thing is, there is too much work to do and not enough time to get it all done, so we had to figure out a way to be more efficient, and we are more efficient this way," Schaaf said. "And I think this brings me closer to people because they have greater access to me."
The Missouri Legislature has grappled for years with technology.
Members of the Missouri House have been allowed to use personal laptop computers in the chamber since 1997. But the tradition-conscious Senate has repeatedly rejected the idea--even though live debate in both chambers is available over the Internet.
Charlie Kreitzberg, chief executive officer of the Princeton, N.J.-based technology firm Cognetics, has spent the last 30 years studying the relationship between people and technology.
For efficiency's sake, Kreitzberg said, state governments must adopt the business view of computer and digital technology--as a tool to serve the public.
"It's important that people in the legislature have more than a superficial knowledge of technology," he said. "They need a real working knowledge of what technology is."
Schaaf seems to be in the vanguard of a rising number of technology-savvy lawmakers around the country, Kreitzberg said.
"It absolutely is the wave of the future," Kreitzberg said. "Technology allows us to move ideas more rapidly. Lawmakers can communicate better with their constituents and their constituents with them."
One of the reasons for Schaaf's bold approach is his legislative assistant Ray Griggs, who runs a video production company when he's not working in Jefferson City Jefferson City, city (1990 pop. 35,481), state capital and seat of Cole co., central Mo., on the south bank of the Missouri River, near the mouth of the Osage; inc. 1825. . Griggs also created several of Schaaf's campaign advertisements using computer graphics.
In the Statehouse state·house also state house
A building in which a state legislature holds sessions; a state capitol.
NZ a rented house built by the government
Noun 1. , Griggs and Schaaf are electronically linked through their personal digital assistants, walkie-talkies and cell phones. Griggs said he is responsible for making the videodiscs and scanning paperwork.
"When Rob gets back here late at night he can sit there and watch these lobbyists and constituents talk about their problems, and he can turn around and call them back at his own leisure," Griggs said.
Schaaf, who had not previously held elective elective
non-urgent; at an elected time, e.g. of surgery.
elective adjective Referring to that which is planned or undertaken by choice and without urgency, as in elective surgery, see there noun Graduate education noun office, said Missouri lawmakers should embrace technology to better serve the public.
"Ultimately, my colleagues will realize that they waste a remendous amount of time, that they waste a tremendous amount of paper and that there will be a great cost saving by doing things digitally," Schaaf aid.
"The law will be digital, all of the bills will be digital, instead of all this volume of paper. It's just going to take many years."
RELATED ARTICLE: PALM-SIZED LEGISLATURES
When legislatures are in session, the schedules are hectic hec·tic
1. Characterized by intense activity, confusion, or haste: "There was nothing feverish or hectic about his vigor" Erik Erikson.
2. and the demands many. Legislators are on the run between their offices, committee meetings, floor debates and votes, and they need to stay in touch with family, staff and constituents. Personal digital assistants (PDAs)--touted as one of the fastest selling consumer devices in history--are becoming hot items in legislatures.
Many legislators are using them to manage schedules, organize information, and keep in touch while staying mobile.
Personal digital assistants are small, fully functional computers that combine all the jobs of bulky bulk·y
adj. bulk·i·er, bulk·i·est
1. Having considerable bulk; massive.
2. Of large size for its weight: a bulky knit.
3. Clumsy to manage; unwieldy. organizers and daily planners, address books, to-do lists in the palm of your hand. Depending on the model, some can be used to take notes, do calculations, keep track of expenses, send and receive e-mail, do word processing word processing, use of a computer program or a dedicated hardware and software package to write, edit, format, and print a document. Text is most commonly entered using a keyboard similar to a typewriter's, although handwritten input (see pen-based computer) and , and integrate with digital cameras and global positioning systems Global Positioning System: see navigation satellite.
Global Positioning System (GPS)
Precise satellite-based navigation and location system originally developed for U.S. military use. , as well as get information from the Internet.
Web sites are adapting to PDAs by providing information like stock quotes, weather, news and entertainment, travel guides and other information in a small-sized format. Now, legislatures also are creating special Internet Web pages with legislative information made to fit on the small screen of a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) A handheld computer for managing contacts, appointments and tasks. It typically includes a name and address database, calendar, to-do list and note taker, which are the functions in a personal information manager (see PIM). . For example, Louisiana, South Carolina South Carolina, state of the SE United States. It is bordered by North Carolina (N), the Atlantic Ocean (SE), and Georgia (SW). Facts and Figures
Area, 31,055 sq mi (80,432 sq km). Pop. (2000) 4,012,012, a 15. , Texas and Virginia have created specially formatted Web pages with House and Senate schedules, committee meeting notices, and committee and member contact information that can be downloaded and viewed on a PDA screen. Virginia also offers bill tracking for mobile devices as part of its "Lobbyist-in-a-Box" fee-based service.
In Texas and Virginia, the information is also available to those who own wireless PDAs and Internet-enabled cell phones. These wireless Web phones have a built-in browser browser
Software that allows a computer user to find and view information on the Internet. The first text-based browser for the World Wide Web became available in 1991; Web use expanded rapidly after the release in 1993 of a browser called Mosaic, which used that allows the user to view the specially created Web pages.
Managing handheld devices, especially wireless devices, however, can create considerable extra work for support staff, including security challenges. IT staff in almost half the states already support members' use of PDAs, either purchased by individual legislators or a standard model purchased by the state.
As wireless phones, pagers, and PDAs converge con·verge
v. con·verged, con·verg·ing, con·verg·es
a. To tend toward or approach an intersecting point: lines that converge.
b. and proliferate pro·lif·er·ate
To grow or multiply by rapidly producing new tissue, parts, cells, or offspring. , legislators will be among the millions of Americans using them.
WEB SITES FOR PERSONAL DIGITAL ASSISTANTS
South Carolina's Palm-Sized Statehouse
Virginia's Mobile LIS LIS - Langage Implementation Systeme.
A predecessor of Ada developed by Ichbiah in 1973. It was influenced by Pascal's data structures and Sue's control structures. A type declaration can have a low-level implementation specification.
Texas Legislature The Texas Legislature is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Texas. The legislature meets at the Texas State Capitol in Austin. In Texas, the Legislature is considered the most powerful branch of state government because of its aggressive use of the power of the purse to Online
--Pam Greenberg, NCSL NCSL National Conference of State Legislatures
NCSL National College for School Leadership
NCSL National Conference of Standards Laboratories
NCSL National Council of State Legislators
NCSL National Computer Systems Laboratory (NIST)
Thirty years ago, they said these dandy new machines called computers were going to dispense with paperwork altogether. Well, not quite, but this Missouri lawmaker is coming close.
Stepping into Representative Rob Schaaf's small, out-ofthe way office in the stately old Missouri Capitol is like crossing a threshold into the future.
There are none of the trappings of most legislative officesuno secretary to greet visitors and handle the typing, no filing cabinet overflowing with documents. But if Schaaf, a freshman Republican from St. Joseph, has stepped out, his legislative assistant invites visitors to have a seat in front of a digital camerauand leave a message on videodisc.
Business cards, meeting notices and other documents delivered to the office are promptly scanned into a computer. And wherever he may be, Schaaf checks messages and committee schedules by tapping his personal digital assistantua wireless hand-held computer.
In a building where thousands of pounds of documents are generated weekly during the legislative session and lawmakers lug oversized binders from meeting to meeting, Schaaf and his office are virtually paperless.
And that' exactly how Schaaf, a physician with a fondness for digital technology prefers it.