Joan Hartley

State Senator

Joan Hartley

Chief Deputy President Pro Tempore

An Independent Voice

April 29, 2021

Sen. Hartley Leads Approval of Legislation to Make Government More Efficient and Support the Remote Work Economy

Today, State Senator Joan Hartley (D-Waterbury), Co-Chair of the Commerce Committee, lead bipartisan approval of a bill in the state Senate to identify state department services that can be made more efficient by blockchain technology. In addition, Senate Bill 1039, “An Act Concerning Blockchain and Emerging Technologies,” seeks to better position the state to serve remote workers in Connecticut by promoting existing remote workspaces and encourage the creation of additional remote workspaces in available building areas such as underutilized office spaces.

“Businesses that have integrated blockchain technology into their operation processes have realized efficiencies and cost savings. It makes sense that we study how this emerging technology can be leveraged to improve efficiencies in State operations ” said Sen. Hartley. “Also, we have to maintain a focus on the future, specifically recognizing that a lasting impact of the coronavirus pandemic will be the increased number of employees working remotely for the long-term. The state developing a plan to encourage the launch of new remote work environments is a direct way we can support these employees and our municipalities can benefit from the growing remote work economy.”

Under Senate Bill 1039, the state Department of Administrative Services will seek information on how the incorporation of blockchain technology can be used to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of department functions. The department commissioner will create a report identifying functions that could benefit from blockchain technology to the Commerce Committee, and the Government Administration and Elections Committee by January 1, 2022.

Blockchain technology, sometimes referred to as distributed ledger technology, is where each block in the chain contains a number of transactions. When a new transaction occurs that change is recorded and available to be viewed by every participant.

An analogy offered to help understand the basis of blockchain technology is a Google Doc. When a Google Doc is created and shared with people it does not create a copy of the document for each person but distributes the same document to all participants. Thus, they all have access to that document at the same time. Further, when any participant makes a change to the document it is recorded in real-time. Plus, the change is reflected when another person views the document on their side and no need to wait for an updated document to be shared.

The forward-thinking aim of Senate Bill 1039 around blockchain technology is coupled with a focus on the future of work, more specifically the remote work economy.

The commissioner of the state Department of Economic and Community Development would develop and submit a plan to the Commerce Committee by January 1, 2022 to support Connecticut’s remote work economy. The plan would be created in consultation with AdvanceCT, a nonprofit geared toward the retention and recruitment of businesses to Connecticut and advancing the state’s economic competitiveness.

The developed plan would cover, but not limited to, promoting existing remote work workspaces in Connecticut and incentivizing the use of locations such as underutilized office space, unoccupied shopping malls, and central business district areas to create new remote work workspaces in the state.

These workspaces can offer employees working remotely several amenities of the traditional office including conference room space and professional networking opportunities. Generally, the main feature of these workspaces is the flexibility of deciding how often to use the work set up and signing up for a corresponding payment plan including a monthly subscription or pay-as-you-go model. The availability of workspaces serving remote workers would benefit employees that are interested in continuing to work from home post-COVID-19 pandemic but may need to use a more structured office space from time to time. According to a 2020 Pew Research Center survey, half of employed adults who say their job can be mainly done from home would want to remain working from home all or most of the time post-pandemic.