Jason Murphey

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Texans Should Never Have More Convenience Than Oklahomans

By: | Friday, May 4th, 2012 10:36:00 AM | gov 20 |

Last Monday, the web developers from the ok.gov organization released a new update to the state’s official website located at ok.gov. Each day hundreds of Oklahomans use this site to interact with state government agencies. The new update reflects the fact that those accessing the site do so from a variety of platforms. The site is optimized for performance on the visitor's device. Whether the visitor is using a phone, tablet or PC, the site responds to the capabilities of the user’s hardware.

The site also prominently features several of the transparency initiatives about which I have written in previous articles. This is especially important because a transparency tool does little good if the taxpayers do not know where to find it. When state government prominently features these tools, it is demonstrating true accountability to the taxpayers who are paying for the government. For the last few years, the development and creation of these transparency initiatives have been a priority of the House government modernization effort. It is rewarding to see such an emphasis being placed on providing citizens access to these initiatives.

For example, one of the rotating leads featured on the ok.gov site provides a link to Oklahoma’s Open Book spending portal where taxpayers may search through individual expenditures of state government. The ability to view individual expenditures is absolutely the right of every citizen. Over the past few years, as technology has made this possible, it has been our goal as legislators to instill this important principle into Oklahoma statute.

Another feature of the site provides access to the data.ok.gov initiatives. The data.ok.gov portal is built on another important principle that state government should not filter the transparency data that is provided to the public, nor should the public be forced to use government created user interfaces to access the data. As long as government controls these interfaces, it can always manipulate the appearance of data. Through the data.ok.gov portal, citizens can obtain raw data feeds and sort and analyze as they see fit without being constrained by the limitations imposed by state government.

I am especially encouraged with the state website’s highlighted focus on the cars.ok.gov component of the state web portal. This is the very well developed and popular web application that allows Oklahomans to renew their vehicle tags online. We initially mandated this feature after making the observation that the state of Texas web portal highlighted this ability. It was not right for Texans to have more convenience than Oklahomans, and during the 2009 session we made made it a priority to pass a law to replicate this feature on our state’s website.

The creation of a responsive web portal and integration with the transparency tools represents the ongoing commitment of state policy leaders and the dedicated state web development team at ok.gov to provide transperancy, openess and convinence to Oklahoma taxpayers.

Have you used the ok.gov web portal? I would appreciate your feedback.