By Gov. Dave Heineman
As technology continues to evolve, state government agencies have worked diligently to implement technology solutions that will make Nebraska state government more efficient and more easily accessible to our citizens. Nebraskans want access to government services at the convenience of their schedule and location. Often that is outside of the traditional 8 to 5 time frame that state offices are physically open. Today, I’d like to share with you some of the newest ways to interact and stay up-to-speed with your state government through technology.
For years, Nebraskans have been able to watch the action on the floor of the Nebraska Legislature on their televisions through public broadcasting. This has been a tremendous asset to Nebraska citizens so they can stay informed on the actions of their government.
In 2012, the state went one step further and implemented web streaming, giving individuals with computer access the ability to follow the live action of the Legislature, Supreme Court proceedings and news conferences from my office. Our newest addition to this suite of services adds mobility to streaming access through smart phones and mobile devices. In February 2013, the Nebraska Capitol Live app was designed for smart phones and made available in the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store to allow citizens to watch these same entities on mobile devices from anywhere.
Another area for increased technology is for licenses and payments. The Department of Agriculture continues to move forward with licensing and inspection fees for services being available online. In 2013, approximately 6,000 individuals and companies used the online option to pay their license and inspection fees.
The Department of Revenue continues to provide many options to electronically file business and individual taxes. NebFile is a free e-file option to file Nebraska tax returns. In 2013, Nebraskans paid over $4 billion in taxes electronically.
The Department of Motor Vehicles has revolutionized the process of issuing handicap parking permits to citizens. The system allows medical professionals who possess a state-issued medical license to login and submit applications. Once the permit moves through the new system, it is then automatically printed and mailed to the citizen. The online system removed the statutorily prescribed barriers that often required individuals to make four trips to various offices before a permit could be issued by the DMV.
Travelers and visitors continue to use the Department of Roads 511 system by phone and on the web in great numbers. This technology provides timely road conditions, access to over 100 highway cameras statewide, and more than 50 Road Weather Information Sensors. A joint venture between the Department of Roads and the National Weather Service has added the ability to provide a single website where travelers can view Nebraska-specific forecasts, watches, warnings and radar.
A new online service introduced this year by the Nebraska State Patrol is the Online Criminal History Background Checks. Nebraskans now may request a record of arrest and prosecution for individuals. The previous paper service would take between three and ten days, while the online service returns results immediately or within three business days if more research is needed.
If you are looking for a state online service, visit our website at www.nebraska.gov and click on the “All Services” in the upper right hand corner of the page. You will find a list of the services offered by the State of Nebraska. If you have suggestions for new services, please let us know through our “live chat” feature on the home page or contact my office directly at 402-471-2244.
We are pleased to continue to find ways to use technology to better serve you.