Senate Passes Bill for Phone-Friendly Federal Websites


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The bipartisan Connected Government Act is waiting for the president’s signature.

The Senate last week unanimously approved a bill that would require new and redesigned government websites be accessible from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

The Connected Government Act aims to address the needs of a growing number of Americans who rely on mobile devices, not desktop computers, to connect to the internet. The bill is waiting for presidential action.

“As mobile devices continue to surpass desktop use for accessing the internet, it is important that the federal government is up to speed with the latest technology that allows our people and economy to thrive,” Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., said in a statement. Hassan introduced the Senate version of the bill with Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo.

The federal government doesn’t have the best record with mobile-friendly sites. Tech think tank Information Technology and Innovation Foundation in March found 40 percent of federal government websites were not mobile friendly and a November assessment found only minimal improvement.

“Since my district includes part of the City of Chicago and more than 1,200 farms, I understand how this bill will have different, but equally positive impacts throughout urban, suburban and rural communities,” Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., said in a statement. Kelly and Rep. Frank Pallone, R-N.J., introduced the House version of the bill, which passed in November.

The bill also requires the Office of Management and Budget and the General Services Administration report to Congress on how agencies are complying with the mandate within 18 months of enactment.