A bill introduced into the Texas state legislature in February seeks to make the currently temporary position of statewide data coordinator permanent. The bill also wants to rename the data coordinator position as chief data officer (CDO).

Colin Wood tells us more about the legislative initiative in StateScoop:

Texas currently has a statewide data coordinator, a role held by Ed Kelly, but the office is set to expire in 2021. Senate Bill 819 would rename Kelly’s position to “chief data officer” — a moniker used in most states that have a statewide data official — and make it a permanent fixture in Texas government.

The chief data officer would be tasked with the creation of a “digital transformation guide” designed to assist state agencies with efforts to collect, store and manage state data.

As valuable as this legislation would be in solidifying the future of data-sharing and use in Texas state government, Kelly told StateScoop another measure, House Bill 1784, would go further in improving how his office coordinates with other agencies.

The House bill directs agencies to create data-management officers, who would act as official points of contact to the statewide data chief. Kelly said he already has points of contact in many of the agencies he works with on data coordination and data-sharing efforts, but those people are usually taking on the task on top of their official duties.

“If we get the proposed bills passed, the agencies can legitimize their individual programs,” said Kelly, a former Texas Department of Agriculture official who was named the state’s data coordinator in 2015.