Virtual Revamp 

The state just made life a little easier with a new Web portal

The state just made life a little easier with a new Web portal

The Web today is functionally an entirely different beast than it was in 1995, with the exception of government sites, which traditionally have been slower to catch up to public demand than the private sector.

But that may not be the case much longer, at least if the state of Tennessee lives up to the online goals recently asserted with a facelift and new branding of the state’s official Web site (www.state.tn.us, and now www.tennesseeanytime.org).

The state and the staff of TennesseeAnytime.org (“the mantra we chose to let people know they have access to government anytime,” says general manager Debra Luling) have rolled out a new look—a more task-driven and handsome portal than the state’s previous home page, which often left users confused about where to click for certain information and functions.

Last year, the same TennesseeAnytime folks launched the new online driver’s license renewal application. With the redesign complete, TennesseeAnytime’s Luling is promising more such applications for the public and for health-care professionals specifically.

Among the new applications for TennesseeAnytime are the ability to check the status of a child support payment and locate nearby child-care providers. For health-care professionals, development of a Web application to renew many types of health-care licenses is under way, not to mention the ability to check corporate TennCare status. For the general public, license plates and specialty plates soon will be available for ordering online, and the older driver’s license functions and sign-up for the telemarketer “Do Not Call” list are still available.

However handy the new portal is, citizens also should be aware that it is, indeed, a portal, and many of the individual state departments’ Web sites do not match the new look and ease of use of www.tennesseeanytime.org. And in an age when electronic communication is the most common and convenient way to transmit information, it is still virtually impossible on many of the state’s sites to find contact e-mail addresses for our public servants. (There are no publicly accessible e-mail addresses, for example, for Tennessee Supreme Court justices.)

Tennessee is no Mississippi in the online game—in other words, it’s not dead last. A few states, such as Virginia and Kansas, offer more online services—the ability to pay parking tickets or apply for handgun permits, for example—but Tennessee officials are working toward those services as well.

A link to the full list of services is available at www.tennesseeanytime.org.

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