Texas legislature dumps laptops for Apple iPads, saves taxpayers’ money

“The Texas Legislature is going mobile,” Tim Eaton reports for The Austin American-Statesman. “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.”

“Chris Griesel, House parliamentarian, said it became clear in the 2011 session that members chose to use personal iPads rather than state-issued laptops much of the time. There were about 20 iPads in the House chamber when the 2011 session began, and 110 by the end of the session,” Eaton reports. “Legislative leaders opted not to buy new laptops, which would cost about $1,300 each when appropriately configured, to replace aging machines for the upcoming 83rd legislative session. The total cost would have been around $555,000, Griesel said. Instead, they purchased the less expensive iPad 2s and iPad 3s, said state Rep. Charlie Geren, a Republican from Fort Worth and chairman of the House Administration committee.”

“The iPads cost roughly half as much as new laptops, and the iPads don’t run programs that require expensive software licenses. The state bought 500 iPads through the normal purchasing process. The cost of each iPad with a case and a print application was $530; the total cost for all the iPads was about $265,000,” Eaton reports. “The state saved about $290,000, compared with the cost of replacing the laptops, Griesel said.”

Eaton reports, “Texas isn’t the first state to go to the iPad. West Virginia, South Dakota and Virginia already have taken the leap. ‘We’ve been able to leverage their learning experience,’ Griesel said. Besides saving money, the iPads could also save trees. In 2009, the House went through 30 million pieces of printer paper. They halved it the following session when the chamber began distributing bills, resolutions and other documents electronically. Griesel said he hopes the iPads will help save even more paper through greater electronic sharing of documents.”

“Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs, is glad to see the introduction of the iPads. For one, he is an avid paper recycler, and the iPads could reduce his volunteer workload,” Eaton reports. “saac also is a bit of a technophile. In fact, Isaac, who holds the distinction of being the first member of the House to speak at the front microphone with an iPad, said he expects the devices to save resources and time. ‘We have so much clutter as it is,’ Isaac said. The introduction of iPads will allow ‘us to be more efficient and better serve the taxpayers.'”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “SMac85” for the heads up.]


    1. No, they opted not to set up a state controlled exchange. The Feds will now set one up for them.

      What they passed up on was the chance to design a system under the Affordable Care Act tailored to the needs of Texans. Otherwise, the Republicans in Tejas violated their own principle of local governance. The decisions regarding Texans will be made at HHS- not Austin.

      Nice try. No style points.

    2. Texas is doomed. Efficient politicians are a danger to us all.

      As far as letting the Feds set up the insurance exchange, is a ploy that allows to politicians to keep yapping about Obamacares rather than actually try to gain a beneficial outcome for their constituents.

      1. Actually Texas is doing much better than most states in almost every aspect.
        However….I think it is telling that you say Obamacare is not beneficial when set up by the Feds.
        Perhaps they thought it would be repealed and thus a waste of time…?

        1. Also, I didn’t say anything about Obamacare, I commented on the Republican Governors who will make statements to appear to be against it, like they were the stimulus spending, but be first in line for the money, but with no cameras in the room. Mindless posturing is a waste of time, just like yapping dogs.

          1. Sorry. Obviously your superior Ivy League education far outpaces my backwoods Texas public schooling.

            But then again, you might want to learn to write what you mean and then re-read it, rather than use words that mean one thing and then claim they meant something else.

            That would make it SO much easier for us unworthy failures to understand…..

            1. TT “Actually Texas is doing much better than most states in almost every aspect.”

              Lubbock Avalanche-Journal “Texas leads nation in numbers without health insurance”

              Based on one example, I think perhaps your reading may be more the problem than my writing. You clearly have a tenuous grasp of the facts. I could go on, but there is no need to run up the score.

            2. Really? Maybe your reading didn’t understand ‘most aspects’.
              You also chose a category which is not only (in many cases) optional to the degree that many choose luxuries over necessities, but counts illegals, which is a high number in Texas.

              Of course, you overlooked unemployment, budgets, cost of living and other winning points for Texas. I could go on and find good points and even MORE bad points for most of our 57 states, but you have turned this into an absurd contest simply because the state did something that seems wise and you just couldn’t allow that, could you?

              You are shallower than a West Texas mud puddle in August…..

            3. I’m sitting in Texas right now, waiting for over two weeks to get an appointment with a state agency, to complete an examination required to comply with a law so stupidly written that even the agency responsible for compliance doesn’t understand what they are supposed to do. I’m sitting here because Mr Perry doesn’t grasp that smaller government is not fewer resources enable citizens to comply with the law, but fewer laws that need compliance. Don’t tell me about Texas and its wonderful, winning points.

              That fact aside, my original comment (“Texas is doomed. Efficient politicians are a danger to us all.”) was intended to be along the lines of Will Rogers “It’s a good thing we don’t get all the government we pay for.” It wasn’t really about Texas, it was about the inherent danger of efficient politicians. I agree that using iPads can make the legislative process more efficient, but that doesn’t address the whole problem of politicians in general. They would still have to read what is on the iPad.

              There is no need to be defensive, Texas isn’t that bad and despite all the puffery, it’s never going to actually secede.

  1. Had the TX legislature chosen MacBook Pros over cheap Wintel laptops, would they “save money”?

    It depends on how you define “saving”. The economist would define “saving” as _not spending_. In absolute terms, that would mean not buying any new equipment whatsoever. Employees would bring their own equipment to work and Tea Partiers would rejoice.

    Realistically, to purchase limited tablets versus full-fledged laptops isn’t “saving”, its is spending less than previously planned. Is that a good thing? Well, to determine that, one would have to stop obsessing about purchase price and start looking at what really matters: EFFECTIVENESS.

    The question remains: is iOS effective as a laptop replacement? In many cases, the answer would be “no”. However, if all one does is email and managing media feeds, perhaps an occasional presentation tool (i.e., TELEPROMPTER), with no real productivity work at all, then a tablet is perfect.

    Such a shame that we hold our elected officials to such low standards that they don’t even need productivity tools.

    Apple needs to get serious about selling Macs to enterprises.

    1. I guess by “productivity tools” you actually mean ‘Office’.
      This is just nonsense. I ditched Office years ago and find Pages, Keynote and Numbers far easier and simpler to use than the bloat that is Office.
      I am much more productive as a result.
      The sooner people wean themselves off Office, the better.

  2. That’s all well and good, but why aren’t they buying Microsoft ZunePads with Microsoft Office if they expect to get any work done at all. It’s been said often that iPads are only useful to play around with and practically useless to do any work with. Doesn’t the ZunePad also offer full multitasking so those legislators could do a few things at once. Now they’re going to be stuck playing Angry Birds all day long and missing the full benefits of Live Tiles.

    I really thought with the advent of Windows 8, that computer users would start coming back to Windows desktops and notebooks in huge numbers. At least that’s what Steve Ballmer had said and I’m sure he knew what he was talking about.


  3. The real question should be this:
    If bring your own device is the order of the day in Korporate Amurrika why are the taxpayers of Texas buying politicians iPads? Aren’t Texans all hot about bringing corporate thinking into government?

  4. Texas Legislature meets every other year, 140 days.
    They only get paid for the time in session.
    For a 2 year term, they make $35,400 total.

    These are not professional politicians, they all have actual real day jobs.

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