The Secretary of State's Office serves the public by collecting, securing and communicating information that enhances commerce, ensures the integrity of Louisiana's elections and preserves, presents and makes accessible government information.
The Secretary of State's Office will be a role model for government in our openness and accessibility to our data and remain responsive to our customer’s needs and the citizens of Louisiana. We can achieve excellence in public service when we draw upon the talents, leadership and resources of our employees, always mindful that every effort must continue to earn and maintain the public's trust and confidence.
It is well-known that the secretary of state is the official keeper of the Great Seal of the State of Louisiana. While that's one of the traditional roles of the secretary of state, under recent leadership this office also has become the home of several innovative programs.
From the Uniform Commercial Code to GeauxBiz, the secretary of state is committed to providing programs that help the state's citizens better understand and take advantage of the services available to them.
GeauxBiz is a perfect example of streamlining a process to help the consumer--in this case, business owners. GeauxBiz gives current and potential business owners a single place to go for all the necessary information to operate within the state. Approval for all licenses and permits still comes from the individual agencies, but GeauxBiz is a clearinghouse for regulatory information.
Another move toward increased efficiency has been the creation of the Commercial Division, consisting of the Corporations/Trademarks/Partnerships Section the Uniform Commercial Code Section and the Administrative Services Section. The creation of new services and the consolidation of the previously separate groups make possible the coordination and oversight of various services affecting businesses.
The Uniform Commercial Code may not have made many headlines when it was implemented in 1990, but people from across the nation have come to Louisiana to look at this innovative program. In the UCC Program, all of the parish clerks of court are linked to the Secretary of State's Office by computer. This allows the secretary of state to coordinate and manage the processing of filings--no matter where the papers are filed. This program is one of the first of its kind in the country and is considered to be on the cutting edge of technology.
Direct Access is another ambitious undertaking within the Secretary of State's Office. Since going online in 1995 it has enabled individuals and businesses with the computer capability to tap into the Secretary of State's Office for information on corporations, their respective boards and other data. Before 1995 callers had to go through an operator for information, but now with Direct Access they can access the database on their own.
Elections touch the lives of literally every person in our state. As chief elections officer, the secretary of state is responsible for qualifying certain candidates, overseeing the election, and tabulating and verifying the results. The statewide election in 1991 was the first completely automated election held in this state.
The secretary of state is the official keeper of the state seal, as well as many other important documents. As the state's archivist, this office is responsible for the care and storage of many irreplaceable treasures. The State Archives Building, located on Essen Lane in Baton Rouge, opened in 1987 and provides a home for the state's growing archival collection. Many people think of files and papers when they think of archives, but the secretary of state has taken steps to preserve and catalog priceless film and tape recordings of important people and historical events. This office has instituted an oral history project in which the memories of people, from prominent former elected officials to rank-and-file citizens, are being preserved.