In Tweets, Lawmakers, State Look at New, Future Tech

State legislators won't return from recess until July 27 but they, and the state, have been active on Twitter with updates on legislation and accomplishments in tech.

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The California Legislature is recessed until July 27, following a resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped lawmakers in both houses from taking to social media to express their thoughts on tech and update constituents.

The roughly two-week session postponement throws another wrench into what was an already-truncated legislative year. But in recent posts, legislators and state departments aren’t letting that get in their way:

• Assemblymember Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, retweeted a news release announcing a package of COVID-19 bills – and emphasizing the need to ensure information security is baked in.

“As the state enters into contracts with technology providers to deploy contact tracing, appropriate steps must be taken to protect this personal information from inappropriate private and governmental use,” Levine wrote. His Assembly Bill 660 would, he said, “prohibit personal information generated through a contact tracing contract with the state from being used for law enforcement or federal immigration purposes.” The California state Senate Appropriations Committee is due to consider the bill next month.

• The California Department of Insurance took to Twitter to highlight California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara’s launch of the “first-ever database of green #insurance products.” The Climate Smart Insurance Products Database, the department said, “is part of comprehensive insurance strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions & build #climate resilience.” Learn more here.

• State Sen. Lena Gonzalez, D-Long Beach, author of the so-called “Broadband for California” bill, thanked LatinasRepresent for highlighting her work on “(c)losing the #DigitalDivide,” which she indicated must remain a priority during the pandemic.

The group wrote: “The pandemic has exposed the digital divide that exists in Latinx households, which is why CA Senator Lena A. Gonzalez ... is leading the way to find a solution for underserved communities.” Gonzalez’s Senate Bill 1130 is still alive – but, likely due to the pandemic, had a committee hearing Tuesday postponed.

• State Sen. Tom Umberg, D-Santa Ana, and Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, retweeted and tweeted, respectively, on the value of 2020 U.S. Census data for setting “education, healthcare & infrastructure spending.”

• And on a lighter note, Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland and a member of the California State Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection, retweeted talk show host Stephen Colbert – who claimed his Twitter account was not recently hacked “because of the rock-solid cyber-security I recently purchased for just $12,000 in Bitcoin and my Social Security number … .”

Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Techwire.