iPad at Work: Replacing Laptops in the Texas Legislature

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Texas Legislature iPad

Photo Credit: Ricardo B. Brazziel

The Texas Legislature is replacing laptops with iPads for the new session that starts in early January of next year. As my hometown newspaper – the Austin American-Statesman – reports,

.Each lawmaker’s office in the Capitol will be offered two iPads for the session that begins Jan. 8. Each committee will get one, too. And the Legislature’s website has been upgraded to be readable on mobile devices for members of the public wishing to track legislation or find out about where and when committees are meeting.

The Statesman article quotes Chris Griesel, House parliamentarian (shown above) on some of the key reasons why the iPad is being adopted. These include:

– It’s viewed as a natural progressive step in the legislature’s technological development. Over the years they’ve gone from mainframe computers to desktops to laptops. “And now, Griesel said, it’s all about iPads and mobile computing.” Hello, Post-PC era.

– Members have made clear their preference for the iPad – with growing numbers of them choosing to use their personal iPads instead of state-issued laptops over the last couple of years.

– Cost savings. Purchasing iPad 2 and iPad 3 models with cases and a print app cost less than half what it would have cost to buy new laptops.

– Potential paper and print usage reductions.

Here’s a little detail on some of the ways the legislature will put the iPad to use:

Griesel said lawmakers — as well as other people with iPads — will be able to watch committee hearings while on the go and to more easily track legislation with the new technology. Generally, he said, the iPads should allow legislators to be more efficient. The Legislative Reference Library also has made many documents available for people with the devices. Additionally, the library is compiling daily news clips using the app Flipboard, which neatly organizes clips.

The Statesman piece also points out that Texas joins West Virginia, South Dakota and Virgin in adopting the iPad. And of course we already know that the US President and the UK Prime Ministeruse the iPad as well.

Helping to run state and national governments – not bad work for a device Microsoft would have us believe is not meant for ‘real work’.

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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