TechCA Year in Review – 2023

Published On: January 21, 2024

Every week, TechCA covers California’s technology industry for its members, tracking legislation, policy initiatives, leadership changes, and important news for IT professionals.  This year, as part of the govreport, the association is sharing its annual Year in Review to highlight some of 2023’s most newsworthy articles for the community to enjoy.  Learn more about our weekly newsletter and membership program here

January

Former CIO of FI$Cal Rejoins the Team in New Role

Former FI$Cal CIO Subbarao Mupparaju departed the team in the summer of 2021 to become CIO of the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), where he served for over a year. FI$Cal announced that Mupparaju will be returning to the company in a new role as Chief Deputy Director. 1/4/23

California collects millions after launching its digital tax collection system

California’s tax authorities are reporting $327 million in additional revenue sales and use tax revenues following the development and completion of its new digital tax collection system. 1/6/23

Caltrans Appoints Marcie Kahbody as Interim Chief Information Officer

Marcie Kahbody, currently serving as the Agency Chief Information Officer for the California State Transportation Agency, will take on the additional responsibility of Interim Chief Information Officer at Caltrans effective January 2, 2023, according to a department email announcement. The position was previously held by George Akiyama who has been with the department since 2015. 1/6/23

Tech modernization and stabilization funds hit with budget reductions

Two key technology-related state programs face significant budget reductions, according to the proposed state budget released on Tuesday. Created by the Newsom Administration in recent budgets to innovate and stabilize the state’s technology infrastructure, both the Technology Modernization Fund and Technology Stabilization Fund will be reduced by $38.5 million collectively. 1/10/23

Veterans Affairs CIO Isaiah Mall Promoted to Assistant Secretary for Administrative Services

Governor Newsom this week announced the appointment of Isaiah Mall to serve as assistant secretary at the California Department of Veterans Affairs, where he has served as chief information officer. 1/13/23

Will California launch digital IDs this year?

The State of California will join a handful of other states that offer digital IDs, according to Governor Newsom who said the state is months away from allowing constituents to use their smartphones as a driver’s license or proof of identity. The governor made the announcement on January 10 when he proposed this year’s state budget. 1/20/23

CDT Seeks New Digital Equity Funds

The California Department of Technology (CDT) submitted a Budget Change Proposal (BCP) last week seeking nine new positions and an additional $2.5 million fund to implement the State Digital Equity Plan. 1/20/23

CDT submits $8.2 million budget proposal to support OTech reduction of services

As part of this year’s budget proposal, the California Department of Technology is requesting a General Fund expenditure of $8.2 million to make up for a loss in revenue as CDT customers migrate to vendor cloud-based services. State agencies’ shift away from using the Technology Services Revolving Fund (TSFR) to support data center services is part of CDT’s Vision 2023 Strategic Plan to modernize the state’s technology infrastructure. 1/20/23

Legislative Update: Tech Bills Introduced

New state technology-related measures have been introduced as the 2023 legislative session gets started. Measures propose identifying automated decision systems, mapping broadband infrastructure, establishing a weather threat intelligence center, and prohibiting state employees from installing social media applications on state-owned devices. 1/27/23

February

Newsom Appoints ODI Director

This week, Gov. Newsom appointed 47-year-old Nolwenn Godard as Director of the Office of Data and Innovation (ODI). Prior to this appointment, Godard was Director of Product and Product Principal at Galileo from 2020 to 2022 and Director of Product at Paypal for five years prior. Godard’s appointment requires Senate Confirmation. 2/3/23

CalPERS Appoints Stephenson Loveson as CIO

CalPERS has appointed Stephenson Loveson as Chief Information Officer, according to a job update on LinkedIn. 2/3/23

CDT Lifts Deadlines for Technology Modernization Fund Projects

The California Department of Technology this week announced it is lifting the Technology Modernization Fund’s deadlines for project submission beyond the normal budget cycle. 2/10/23

Legislation Proposes New CDT Office of Artificial Intelligence

The California Department of Technology will have a new Office of Artificial Intelligence with “powers and authorities necessary to guide the design, use, and deployment of automated systems by a state agency,” if Senate Bill 313 (Dodd- D) is passed by the Legislature. Proposed this week, the bill has basic language that will likely be amended with more details. The purpose appears to be aimed at preventing bias and promoting “equitable outcomes for Californians.” 2/10/23

FI$Cal Appoints Kanuri Murty as CIO

Kanuri Murty has been appointed as FI$Cal’s Chief Information Officer and Deputy Director of the Information Technology Division, according to the department’s website. Previously, served as the Chief of Infrastructure and Platform Services Office at FI$Cal. 2/17/23

Rebecca Morales Joins Tanium as Director of Strategic Accounts for the State of California

Technology industry veteran Rebecca Morales has joined Tanium, a leading IT operations, and security management company and the premier supplier of converged endpoint management. She serves as Director of Strategic Accounts for the State of California. 2/22/23

March

Parks Launches Digital Passport Program

A cutting-edge digital passport program has just been unveiled by California State Parks with the goal of improving accessibility and visitor participation across the state’s extensive park system. The program provides users with a variety of fun activities and educational opportunities that highlight the state’s distinctive history and spectacular beauty in an effort to encourage exploration of California’s diverse natural surroundings. 3/3/23

Trinity Technology Group Appoints Raelyn Sweebe as Proposal Elicitation and Response Manager

Raelyn Sweebe has been appointed as Proposal Elicitation and Response Manager at Trinity Technology Group. With over 15 years of experience in project management, business development, and proposal management, Raelyn brings a wealth of expertise to the company. 3/8/23

Jim Wang Promoted to Deputy CIO at California Department of Water Resources

Jim Wang has recently been promoted to the role of Deputy Chief Information Officer (CIO) at the California Department of Water Resources. With this new position, he will have the responsibility of overseeing the department’s information technology infrastructure and ensuring that it is current and aligned with the department’s mission, according to an announcement online. 3/17/23

Governor Appoints James Regan as GovOps Workforce Development Deputy Secretary

Governor Newsom this week announced James Regan will lead state workforce development efforts at the California Government Operations Agency. 3/24/23

LAO Issues Report on Cybersecurity Budget Proposals

The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office this week provided an overview of the Newsom Administration’s budget proposals related to cybersecurity initiatives and the California Cybersecurity Integration Center (Cal-CSIC). 3/24/23

Algorithm Oversight Bill Advances

This week, legislation advanced that would require the Department of Technology to issue an annual report on the use of algorithms in automated decision-making systems (ADS). Assembly Bill 302 by Assemblymember Chris Ward (D- San Diego) passed the Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee. 3/24/23

Megan Masten to Co-Chair TechCA Small Business Committee

The Technology Industry Association of California (TechCA) announced Megan Masten (Acuity Technical Solutions) will serve as co-chair of the TechCA Small Business Committee. 3/31/23

April

ODI Announces Community of Innovation

The California Office of Data and Innovation (ODI) announced on Thursday they have created a new community that will highlight innovation across state government. 4/7/23

Daniel Quach appointed as CIO at CA Department of Financial Protection and Innovation

Daniel Quach has been appointed as the Chief Information Officer at the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI). He brings over a decade of experience in the field of IT and has held several prominent positions in the California state government. 4/7/23

CA Student Aid Commission Appoints Ken Ketsdever as CIO

California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) has announced the appointment of Ken Ketsdever as its Chief Information Officer, signaling the commission’s commitment to expanding access to financial aid programs for Californian students. Ken brings over 25 years of experience in public service. 4/14/23

Senator Bill Dodd Presents AI Bill to Create Office of Artificial Intelligence

“AI can do a lot and there’s certainly benefits, but it can’t be trusted to regulate itself.” SB 313 author Senator Bill Dodd presented his bill for the first time in front of the Senate Governmental Organization Committee on Tuesday, April 11. 4/14/23

State Auditor Says State Weak on Cybersecurity

This week, the State Auditor released a report citing weaknesses in the California Department of Technology’s approach to cybersecurity, questioning whether the state has adequate protections to prevent cyberattacks that could compromise individuals’ personal information. 4/21/23

Senate Rules Committee Confirms State CIO Liana Bailey-Crimmins

This week, the Senate Rules Committee unanimously confirmed Liana Bailey-Crimmins as State CIO and Director of the California Department of Technology. Her nomination now moves to a floor vote of the Senate, a formality and final step before she permanently takes the position she was appointed to last June. 4/21/23

Newsom Appoints Data Professionals to ODI

Governor Newsom has appointed two Data Professionals to the Office of Data and Innovation (ODI). Monica Bobra, a former Senior Research Data Scientist at Tomorrow.io and Research Scientist at Stanford University, has been appointed as the Principal Data Scientist, the Govenor’s Office announced. Bobra is an Astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and holds degrees in Communications, Astronomy, and Physics from Boston University and the University of New Hampshire. 4/26/23

May

Legislation to Create California Cybersecurity Awareness and Education Council

In the face of cyber threats via malware, data, and even your webcam, a new bill seeks to establish a council that would promote cybersecurity among California residents. 5/5/23

State Issues Security Policy on Two-Factor Authentication

On Thursday (5/25/23), the Office of Information Security released Technology Letter 23-01 creating a Multi-Factor Authentication Standard for state agencies to follow. 5/26/23

Bill to Create Interagency AI Working Group Passes Senate

Senate Bill 721 by Senator Josh Becker (D-Menlo Park) proposing to create the California Interagency AI Working Group passed the Senate this week (5/25) on a 38-0 vote and now heads to the Assembly to continue through the legislative process. 5/26/23

Budget Proposes to Create IT Unit in Governor’s Office of Planning and Research

In his May Revision budget proposal, Governor Newsom is asking for $5 million to create a new 15-member IT unit within the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) to support internal departmental oversight and administration of information technology needs. 5/26/23

June

California’s First Chief Data Officer Leaves State Service

On Thursday, (6/1) California Chief Data Officer Joy Bonaguro announced her last day in state service was this week. 6/2/23

State Budget Moves Forward

The State Legislature approved the state budget this week and now awaits approval by Governor Newsom. Additional parts of the budget are expected to follow as this week’s budget passage was to meet the constitutional deadline so that legislators would continue being paid. 6/16/23

Governor Appoints Jonathan Porat as State Chief Technology Officer

Governor Newsom on Thursday (6/29) appointed Jonathan Porat as State Chief Technology Officer at the California Department of Technology. Previously, Porat served as chief technology innovation officer in the same department, a position that he was appointed to in October 2022. 6/29/23

Newsom: Tech Revolution Enhances California’s Wildfire Response

On Thursday (6/29) Governor Newsom highlighted the state’s increased use of technology, firefighters, and aircraft to combat wildfires ahead of what is predicted to be an intense wildfire season. California is deploying AI, satellites, cameras, drones, and real-time intelligence to fight fires more efficiently. 6/31/23

July

State Controller’s Office Awards Major Contracts, $42 Million to Deloitte Consulting

Deloitte Consulting LLP was awarded a contract worth $42 million by the State Controller’s Office (SCO), according to state procurement records. The firm will provide business analysis and IT consulting services. 7/5/23

California Unveils New Digital Strategy

This week, the California Department of Technology (CDT) unveiled its new Digital Strategy, a collaborative effort with the Government Operations Agency and the Office of Data and Innovation, according to a July 12 blog post by State Chief Technology Officer Jonathan Porat. 7/13/23

FI$Cal Appoints Jennifer Benson as CISO

Jennifer Benson has been appointed as the new Chief of the Information Security Officer at the Department of FISCal (FI$Cal), according to an announcement. Benson served as CIO of the Department of Toxic Substances Control from 2017 to 2020, as well as Senior Project Manager at CalOES from 2022 to 2023. 7/21/23

August

Governor appoints Jeffrey Worthe to the California Privacy Protection Agency Board

On Wednesday, August 2, 2023, Governor Newsom announced the appointment of Jeffrey Worthe to the California Privacy Protection Agency Board. 8/2/23

Governor signs cybersecurity education bill

Governor Newsom last week signed Assembly Bill 569, aimed at bolstering cybersecurity education in state colleges. Authored by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), the legislation focuses on improvements and increased reporting for the Cybersecurity Regional Alliances and Multistakeholder Partnerships Pilot Program within the California State University system. 8/4/23

Chris Martinez Named CIO of CalFire

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) has a new chief information officer, Chris Martinez, according to department deputy director Scott Gregory, who made the announcement at last week’s industry forum held in Sacramento. Martinez is a veteran technologist with decades of experience in both the public and private sectors and will serve as the point of contact for technology vendors, Gregory said. 8/4/23

CalVet Appoints Carlos Chavez as CIO

Carlos Chavez has been appointed as the new Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet), according to a department-wide announcement. In his new role, Carlos will be responsible for overseeing the agency’s Information Technology initiatives, services, and staff. 8/7/23

Ron Hughes Appointed Director of EDDNext Project

Former OTech Director and veteran technology executive Ron Hughes has been appointed as director of the EDDNext project, according to an announcement on social media. 8/10/23

Governor Appoints Marcie Kahbody as Deputy Secretary of Technology at the California State Transportation Agency

Governor Newsom has appointed acting Caltrans CIO as Deputy Secretary of Technology at the California State Transportation Agency, a position she has served in since 2015. 8/11/23

Legislature Passes Resolution on Artificial Intelligence Principles

On Monday (8/14), the California Legislature adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 17 by Senator Dodd (D-Napa) that commits California to principles stated in President Biden’s “Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights” released last fall by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. 8/18/23

Zaid Ridha Appointed CIO for Governor’s Office of Planning and Research

Zaid Ridha has taken on the role of Chief Information Officer (CIO) at the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) in a significant move to boost technology capabilities and strategic planning. He will lead the creation of OPR’s internal IT department. 8/24/23

September

State IT Security and Project Oversight Remains ‘High Risk,’ says State Auditor

State Auditor Grant Parks issued his oversight agency’s annual risk report that cited the California Department of Technology with ongoing concerns on project oversight and information security. 9/1/23

Governor Newsom Issues Executive Order on Artificial Intelligence

Gov. Gavin Newsom this week issued an executive order calling for state agencies to study and prepare for the future of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in California state government. The executive order calls for the state to examine the risks and benefits of using AI, focusing on ethics, transparency, and trust while maintaining California’s position as a global AI leader. 9/8/23

New Comprehensive AI Regulation Bill Introduced for Next Year’s Session

Senator Scott Wiener (D- San Francisco) this week introduced Senate Bill 294, known as the Safety in Artificial Intelligence Act, to establish a comprehensive framework for the safe development of artificial intelligence (AI) in California. The legislation is classified as an intent bill, meant to stimulate discussion and gather feedback before proceeding through the formal legislative process, starting in next year’s legislative session. 9/15/23

EDD CIO Rita Gass Moving to New Role in Rancho Cordova

Employment Development Department Rita Gass is moving to a new position in the City of Rancho Cordova, according to an online announcement. Starting on Oct. 2, she will serve as Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, a newly created position, for the city. 9/15/23

TechCA Adopts AI Legislative Principles

The TechCA Legislative Committee has finalized its legislative principles for artificial intelligence as part of the association’s legislative platform for 2023. Development of the high-level policy positions started on May 16, followed by workgroup sessions and monthly committee meetings in June and July. 9/17/23

AI System Inventory Bill Goes to Governor

Assembly Bill 302 by Assemblymember Chris Ward (D- San Diego), which calls for a comprehensive inventory of all high-risk automated decision systems in state government, was passed by the legislature and now awaits action by Governor Newsom. The legislation has similar requirements to the governor’s recently issued executive order on AI. 9/22/23

Interim CIO: Andrea Wallin-Rohmann Takes Over at State Parks

Retired state technology executive Andrea Wallin-Rohmann is now Interim CIO / Special Consultant at the California Department of Parks and Recreation, she confirmed. 9/22/23

CDT Announces Project Services Modernization Initiative

The California Department of Technology (CDT) has launched a new initiative called Project Services Modernization (PSM) to revamp the state’s approach to project planning, procurement, and oversight, according to a blog post. 9/28/23

California’s Cutting-Edge Innovations Shine in State IT Recognition Awards

California’s public sector innovators and ingenuity-minded agencies are showcasing a host of new apps, tools and progressive techniques to reshape the state’s services. 9/29/23

October

New DOJ Tech Chief: Veronica Gilliard

The Department of Justice has a new chief of the California Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division. California Department of Technology (CDT) Deputy Director Veronica Gilliard has been hired to oversee the department’s IT infrastructure that reaches across state, local, and federal agencies in support of law enforcement, according to a post online. 10/5/23

New Bureau Chief of Technology Services at SCO: Robert Blesi

Robert Blesi has been appointed as Bureau Chief of Enterprise Technology Services at the California State Controller’s Office, according to an online post. For the past eight years, Blesi served as CTO at State Parks, where he started in 1999, serving in various technical positions over the years. 10/6/23

Governor Signs Bill to Require ‘.gov’ Domain for Cities and Counties

Governor Newsom has signed a bill that will require all California cities and counties to use a government-designated domain, his office announced on Sunday (Oct. 8). AB 1637 by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) seeks to address cybersecurity and enhance public trust in government websites in California by requiring cities and counties in the state to transition their public internet websites and employee email addresses to utilize a “.gov” or “.ca.gov” domain by January 1, 2029. 10/9/23

Health Care Service CIO Promoted to Department Chief Operating Officer

Governor Newsom this week announced the promotion of Christopher Riesen to serve as Chief Operating Officer for the California Department of Health Care Services. 10/13/23

Governor Appoints Jason Kenney as DGS Chief Deputy Director

Governor Newsom this week appointed Jason Kenney as Chief Deputy Director at the California Department of General Services. 10/13/23

Newsom Vetoes Public Records Oversight Legislation

Governor Newsom has vetoed legislation that would have created the Office of the California Public Records Act Ombudsperson to oversee information requests at state agencies. 10/13/23

California Wins National Award for All Hazards Dashboard

A data visualization project by the California Health and Human Services Agency has won a national award, the National Association of State CIOs announced this week. 10/13/23

Governor Signs Bill to Create AI Inventory

Among his final legislative actions for 2023, Gov. Newsom signed AB 302 by Assemblymember Christopher Ward (D-San Diego) which calls for the California Department of Technology to develop a comprehensive inventory of automated decision systems (ADS) used in state programs by September 1, 2024. 10/20/23

CDFA Agency Information Officer Rob Peterson Announces Retirement

California Department of Food and Agriculture Agency Information Officer Rob Peterson is retiring, he announced on social media. Peterson has been at CDFA since 2016, where he also held the title of Chief Information Officer. Prior to CDFA, he was a consultant at the California Department of Technology and worked at various tech companies dating back to 1998. 10/27/23

November

Governor Appoints Ex-Googler as Chief UX Researcher at ODI

Governor Newsom appointed Sarah Sach to the Office of Data and Innovation, his office announced on Thursday. 11/3/23

Cradle-to-Career Data System Reaches Major Milestone

Gov. Newsom announced a significant advancement in California’s Cradle-to-Career Data System (C2C), marking a transformative phase in education and workforce development. In October 2023, C2C received its inaugural data installment, integrating over 1 billion validated data points at the state level. This integration offers unprecedented insight for the public, researchers, and lawmakers, aiming to enhance education and Californians’ quality of life. 11/3/23

CDT Updates Cloud Policy

The State of California has updated its Cloud Computing Policy, effective October 2023, to standardize the use and management of cloud services across state agencies and departments, says an announcement from the California Department of Technology. 11/3/23

California aims for measured approach on AI

President Joe Biden this week issued a landmark executive order aimed at positioning the United States as a global leader in the development and responsible use of artificial intelligence, garnering widespread support and receiving praise from California Governor Gavin Newsom, who commended the administration’s focus on responsible AI innovation, privacy protection, equity advancement, and worker support. 11/3/23

December

CPPA Proposes Regulated Framework for Automated Decision-Making Technologies

The California Privacy Protection Agency has prepared draft regulations that would establish crucial protections concerning businesses’ utilization of Automated Decision-Making Technologies (ADMT), according to a Nov. 27 announcement on the CPPA website. These regulations, stemming from the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), allow consumers to opt out of and access information about ADMT usage. 12/1/23

Budget Letter Calls for Agencies to Cut Spending

Due to California’s projected $68 billion budget deficit, a new directive from the California Department of Finance calls for spending cuts, according to a budget letter issued to California agencies and departments this week. The cuts will include goods and services contracts, among other spending, and calls for agencies to re-evaluate expenses related to IT projects. 12/15/23

State Releases Draft Digital Equity Plan

California has taken a step towards addressing one of its lingering, pressing issues–the digital divide. 12/15/23

New Legislation to Establish Standard on GenAI and ‘Deepfakes’

Assemblymember Akilah Weber, M.D. (D-La Mesa) has announced her intention to introduce legislation addressing the issue of intentionally deceptive content on the internet, particularly focusing on generative artificial intelligence (AI). This legislation will require the establishment of an industry standard for identifying generative AI. 12/22/23

About the Author: Will Keys

Will Keys writes about technology issues for the GovReport. He is a graduate of the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. He can be reached at will at govreport.org