In good news for those who received a shiny new smartphone from Santa this week, legislation requiring newly created or redesigned federal websites to be mobile-friendly will soon be arriving on the president’s desk for signature.
On Dec. 22 the Senate passed the Connected Government Act, which would require the Office of Management and Budget to report on agency websites’ compliance with mobile usability.
“As mobile devices continue to surpass desktop use for accessing the internet, it is important that the federal government is up to speed with the latest technology that allows our people and economy to thrive,” Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., one of the bill’s Senate sponsors, said.
“I am pleased that the bipartisan Connected Government Act passed the Senate, and I urge President Trump to sign the bill into law as quickly as possible so that Granite Staters and Americans who use mobile technology, including low-income individuals and Americans who experience disabilities, can access government services, resources and information to help them succeed.”
According to Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., who sponsored the House version of the bill that passed in November 2017, this legislation is particularly important for expanding government access to those without reliable broadband.
“Quite simply, this bill will put nearly all government services in your pocket,” said Kelly. “Deep urban and remote rural communities are the most affected by our government’s failure to provide mobile-accessible websites. Without broadband coverage, these Americans are tied to the mobile-only internet. Since my district includes part of the City of Chicago and more than 1,200 farms, I understand how this bill will have different, but equally positive impacts throughout urban, suburban and rural communities.”
Both the House and the Senate unanimously passed the bill, which, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would have no significant cost to implement.
“I am thrilled that this common-sense piece of bipartisan legislation has passed the Senate and is on its way to the president’s desk,” said bill sponsor Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo.
“As more and more Americans rely on their mobile devices to access information and websites, it’s important the federal government has websites designed for mobile platforms. The Connected Government Act will promote transparency and bring the government into the 21st century.”
Jessie Bur covers federal IT and management.