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.]

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