Old state computers could get new life faster under House bill

Posted March 10

— State lawmakers are considering a bill that could get more surplus computers into the hands of low-income families.

House Bill 254 would speed up the process of donating used computers to be refurbished by nonprofit groups that distribute them to families in need.

The state goes through thousands of computers a year, especially at universities and community colleges. Under current law, when those computers are no longer needed, they're sent to the State Surplus Property Agency and eventually made available for sale to the public or donation to schools or nonprofits.

Getting one of those computers into the hands of groups that rebuild them, such as the Kramden Institute in Durham, can take months or years, with the hardware becoming more obsolete during that time.

Rep. Jason Saine, R-Lincoln, wants to allow the state to donate used computers directly to nonprofits for refurbishing, saying the devices will open doors to low-income households that can't afford to buy new technology.

"It may be a generation-old computer, but a generation of today's technology is as little as nine months to two years," Saine said. "So, it gives those households, those children, something new and something they can use to learn."

Although Saine filed the bill on Monday, it has already picked up 39 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle in the House.


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