February 24, 2024

Selected links to items focusing on government operations posted on the Internet during the week ending February 23, 2024

"AI Is Going to Cause the Next Digital Divide" At Net Inclusion 2024, digital equity experts weighed in on the potential inequities inherent to the acceleration of artificial intelligence, offering advice to those wanting to prepare. READ MORE

Active Shooter Defense Classes Gain Popularity in Texas The rising number of gun deaths in Texas has inspired a $3 billion industry of active shooter training, consultants, surveillance technologies and safety infrastructure. Some experts aren’t certain the touted strategies are effective. READ MORE

An Urgent Opportunity to Close the Medicaid Gap Ten states have yet to expand eligibility under the Affordable Care Act. Doing so would save lives, improve financial well-being, save states money and support regional economies. READ MORE

Annual Report: The 2024 State of Online Payments Few utility and local government customer touchpoints are as operationally important as billing and payments. To help understand the preferences of their customer base in 2024, over 2,000 American billpayers were surveyed for insights on trends and general bill payment behaviors. DOWNLOAD PDF

Automating Permit Applications Agencies and businesses desire quicker permit approvals. Automation via low-code tools and open source software streamlines processes effectively. READ MORE

Best Practices in Cybersecurity and Cyber Resilience Discover six best practices to reduce risk, strengthen compliance, and achieve cyber resilience. DOWNLOAD NOW [CONTENT PROVIDED BY COHESITY]

Bridging Communication Gaps in Civic Infrastructure Projects From roads to bridges to drainage systems, a successful civic infrastructure project requires communication among all stakeholders. But communication challenges can arise throughout the life cycle of any infrastructure asset. READ MORE

Chicago Commuter Rail Buys First Battery-Powered Train Chicago’s main metro transit system will purchase eight of the two-car trains for $154 million, and may spend up to $181.4 million extra for more. The trains will run during off-peak times. READ MORE

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Finds Malware in City Computers Affected systems have been taken offline as officials work to fix it, and the city's website was inaccessible Monday, with Coeur d'Alene's mayor, Jim Hammond, confirming the city's phone system was down. READ MORE [CONTENT PROVIDED BY COHESITY]

Colorado Public Defender's Office Forced Offline by Cyber Attack A malware attack on the Office of the Colorado State Public Defender has forced it to shut down its computer network. Public defenders are blocked from their work computers and electronic court dockets and filings. READ MORE

County Leaders Lobby for Extension of Affordable Internet Members of the National Association of Counties were in Washington, D.C., to urge Congress to extend funding for a program providing subsidies to help low-income households afford broadband Internet service. READ MORE

Fighting Ransomware: A Deep Dive into the Changing Landscape of Ransomware in 2024 This webcast provides insight into the changing landscape of ransomware and the increasing popularity of intentional remote encryption. [CONTENT PROVIDED BY SOPHOS] REGISTER TODAY

Florida Could Claw $40M for Cyber Grants Back to the State A new proposal in the state Legislature could claw back $40 million in local government cybersecurity grants. The move would be a substantial blow to the state’s Local Government Cybersecurity Grant program. READ MORE

Florida Workers Are Losing Union Representation. What Comes Next? An anti-union bill that passed last year requires most public-sector unions to increase the rate of members paying dues or be disbanded. Some unions, including  police, firefighters and correctional officers, are exempt from the new law. READ MORE

For Universities, More Out-of-State Students Means More Money In 47 states, schools have a higher proportion of students from elsewhere than they did 20 years ago. READ MORE

Generative AI Guardrails: How to Address Shadow AI New terminology and cyber questions about generative artificial intelligence keep popping up. Can AI be governed? How can GenAI be secured? By whom? Using what tools and processes? READ MORE

Global Cyber Threat Report Spotlights Cloud Abuse, Cyber Extortion 2023 saw more cloud-based intrusions and data breach-based extortion. Cyber extortion and ransomware, plus election-related disinformation, are likely to be key concerns in 2024, too. READ MORE

Hackers Remove Threat to Post Stolen Fulton County Data The countdown clock on a website containing screenshots of information stolen from Fulton County, Ga., servers two weeks ago hit zero on Friday, and then mysteriously disappeared. READ MORE

High-Speed Internet Means High-Speed Innovation Fast and reliable internet empowers innovation. America’s cable broadband providers are working hard to ensure every American has robust connectivity. READ MORE [CONTENT PROVIDED BY NCTA]

Honolulu CIO Mark Wong Announces Plans to Retire
Mark Wong, the longtime director of technology for the city and county of Honolulu, plans to retire at the end of the year, according to officials with Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s office. READ MORE

House Establishes a New Bipartisan Task Force on AI This week, House Speaker Mike Johnson and Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries announced the establishment of a new task force that will help Congress to better understand artificial intelligence and its related risks. READ MORE

How ‘Deep Learning’ Can Predict Where Wildfires Will Start The new machine learning method can produce in 21 hours what existing wildfire prediction models do in months and forecast where fires are likely to strike weeks further in advance.

How Process Automation Improves the Government Experience For state and local government organizations, process automation goes hand in hand with systems integrations efforts to help states, cities and counties create a better, more satisfying government experience (GovX). DOWNLOAD PDF

How to Spot Political Deepfake Ads This Year While deepfakes are evolving and do pose a threat to this year’s elections, they are not without flaws. With a discerning eye, it’s often possible to identify falsified video, photos or audio recordings of politicians. READ MORE

Kansas Unveils Cyber Program to Safeguard Water Systems After a Kansas drinking water treatment facility was compromised through remote access on a former employee's cellphone in 2019, the state is launching a tool to assess the cybersecurity of the agencies in charge of keeping drinking water safe. READ MORE

Massachusetts Establishes AI Task Force by Executive Order This week, Gov. Maura Healey signed an executive order to establish the Artificial Intelligence Strategic Task Force in order to better understand the potential impacts of AI and GenAI. READ MORE

Mastering the Government Experience This guide from the Center for Digital Government highlights key lessons learned, best practices and proven examples from states and localities across the country that are transforming GovX for the communities they serve. DOWNLOAD PDF

More Riders, Fewer Stations for Intercity Bus Lines Intercity bus ridership is up and should return to pre-pandemic levels by 2026. Other trends, including the closure of Greyhound stations in big cities such as Philadelphia, are less positive. READ MORE

National AT&T Outage Downs Phones, Internet With No Known Cause
Customers across the nation reported outages of call, text and Internet service. The incident prompted some emergency and police departments to issue advice to residents who were unable to place 911 calls. READ MORE

New Digital and IoT Solutions are Transforming How Cities Connect and Adapt To navigate the complex web of government operations and unlock city-wide IoT benefits, departments and agencies need the right mix of coverage and capability. LEARN MORE [CONTENT PROVIDED BY T-MOBILE FOR GOVERNMENT®]

North Carolina Moves Ahead With Broadband Equity Project Grants
North Carolina is making $14 million available to nonprofits, government agencies and others as part of the Digital Champion grants to expand digital equity. Some 230 applicants have applied. READ MORE

Ohio Lawmakers from Both Parties Want Crackdown on Deepfakes The Ohio House introduced legislation this month to outlaw the sharing of artificial media — including videos or audio — that impersonates real people in unflattering or compromising depictions. READ MORE

OpenAI CEO Seeks Government Blessing to Raise Billions for Chips OpenAI Chief Executive Officer Sam Altman is working to secure U.S. government federal approval for a massive venture to boost global manufacturing of artificial intelligence chips. READ MORE

Oregon’s Rural Power Utility Has Become a Big Polluter Umatilla Electric Cooperative is responsible for 1.8 million tons of carbon emissions annually despite having just 16,000 customers. One of those customers is Amazon, which has data centers in areas where renewable energy access is limited. READ MORE

Pennsylvania Court Operations Restored After Cyber Attack The Pennsylvania court online operations have returned to normal following a disruptive cyber attack. The attack disabled access to online dockets, PACFile, PAePay and the Guardianship Tracking System, among other disruptions. READ MORE

Public Officials Pressured to Spend Billions on Sports Venues Professional sports teams are on the move and they’re leaning on state and local officials to help them. Subsidies exceeding $1 billion per deal are on the table. READ MORE

Rural Colleges in Colorado Band Together to Request More Funding Adams State University, Fort Lewis College and Western Colorado University are hoping for $3 million per institution from the state to ensure access for students from less populous areas. READ MORE

Securing California's Data with Enhanced Data Management The California Department of Finance (DOF) sought to enhance data security and efficiency. Leveraging Cohesity, the DOF achieved significant improvements in data management, data protection, and cost reduction. LEARN HOW

South Dakota IT Looks Ahead, Prioritizing the Citizen Experience As the state of South Dakota works to transform outdated IT systems, enhance cybersecurity and explore emerging technologies, state IT leadership is keeping the citizens’ experience at the heart of these efforts. READ MORE

South Dakota May Ease Signature Removal from Ballot Petitions State Rep. Jon Hansen has proposed making it easier for people who have signed a ballot initiative petition to be able to remove their signatures, which he says is “practically impossible” now. READ MORE

Stopping Active Adversaries: Lessons From The Cyber Frontline Get key learnings and actionable insights to guide your 2024 security strategy based from major cyber incidents remediated by the Sophos X-Ops team. [CONTENT PROVIDED BY SOPHOS] GET THE GUIDE

Texas Gives $125M to Rural Sheriffs, Prosecutors for Pay Increases The 2023 legislation establishing the grant program also includes new equipment for rural sheriffs. READ MORE

The ‘Visible Power’ of Black Lawmakers A total of eight African Americans are serving as the top chamber leaders in state legislatures. Meanwhile, the fallout from an Oregon Supreme Court ruling that barred some state senators from seeking re-election won't be as great as you might think. READ MORE

The Housing Opportunity Hidden in Plain Sight State and local governments have an opportunity to fill a sizable gap by subsidizing the conversion of market-rate properties into affordable housing. While costly, it's still cheaper than building new. READ MORE

Transforming Community Infrastructure for Water Conservation Local governments can drastically improve water conservation with a comprehensive approach to water management. READ MORE

What Could Entrepreneurs and Government Do Together? The co-author of a new book suggests that when technology, data and collective effort converge, government, the tech industry and higher education can tackle major challenges while bringing a new generation into the workforce. READ MORE

What's New in Digital Equity: Massachusetts Builds Digital Accessibility, Equity Board Plus, Maine is the first state to have its digital equity plan accepted, the NTCA is calling for a more effective challenge process for the national broadband map, and more. READ MORE

Where Will Government Point Its 2024 IT Dollars? The public-sector-facing technology industry convened this week for the Center for Digital Government’s annual Beyond the Beltway event. Highlights included a forecast of how state and local government will invest this year. READ MORE

Will Democrats Ever Embrace Charter Schools Again? They should. Charter schools aren’t magic, and plenty of them are worse than the average public school. But on average, charters are superior. READ MORE


Subsequent court and administrative rulings, or changes to laws, rules and regulations may have modified or clarified or vacated or reversed the decisions summarized here. Accordingly, these summaries should be Shepardized® or otherwise checked to make certain that the most recent information is being considered by the reader.
New York Public Personnel Law Blog Editor Harvey Randall served as Principal Attorney, New York State Department of Civil Service; Director of Personnel, SUNY Central Administration; Director of Research, Governor’s Office of Employee Relations; and Staff Judge Advocate General, New York Guard. Consistent with the Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations, the material posted to this blog is presented with the understanding that neither the publisher nor NYPPL and, or, its staff and contributors are providing legal advice to the reader and in the event legal or other expert assistance is needed, the reader is urged to seek such advice from a knowledgeable professional.
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