Summer 2004

Community Technology Policy Actions at the State Level
by Angela Stuber

The community technology movement is becoming increasingly involved in policy discussions and actions locally, statewide and nationally. CTCNet, regional groups of CTCs, and individual CTCs are recognizing the need to advocate for community technology. It is easy to dismiss politicians and policy discussions as unimportant to our daily work, the work that is in the trenches and making a difference to the lives of those we serve. But the reality is that legislators and their aides have a tremendous impact on how we live our lives and the important community technology work we do. They regularly make decisions important to us, from broadband access to community technology funding.

The importance of policy is evident in the presence of a whole track at this year's CTCNet Conference devoted to policy work. "The Community Technology Policy Actions at the State Level" session, led by seasoned state-level CTC advocates, will focus on current and emerging policy efforts. The session will focus on legislation, community technology education days and interaction with state Public Utility Commissions. Legislation beneficial to community technology programs has already passed in Illinois and California. Additional legislation is being pursued in California and Ohio.

Community technology education days bring community technology practitioners and advocates to a state capital to educate legislators. Community technology education days have been held in California, Illinois, and Ohio. In the same three states. community technology centers have received funding as a result of settlement agreements between Public Utility Commissions and regulated telecommunication companies.

The big picture process is best described in the three step process of education, legislation, and implementation. Implementation can take place without new legislation. The session will include a discussion on how to utilize current legislation to the benefit of community technology centers.

The session is set to be a facilitated discussion between the presenters and the participants to ensure the maximum benefit to the participants. To aid interaction among the participants and others, the session includes activities on how to organize and conduct a state community technology education day.

Angela Stuber

Angela Stuber is the Executive Director of the Ohio Community Computing Network (OCCN). OCCN is a statewide membership network of community computing centers. OCCN has coordinated the grants process for over five million dollars in funds from telecommunications settlements while providing support services to Ohio's community technology centers. OCCN coordinated Ohio's first Community Technology Education Day in 2003. Angela is also the current Vice President of the CTCNet Board of Directors.

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