March 30, 2024

Selected links to items focusing on government operations posted on the Internet during the week ending March 29, 2024

 A Profit-Sharing Ploy to Prop Up Downtown Commercial Real Estate Congress could enable cities to employ tax-exempt bonds to help stabilize their office tax bases in a way that’s friendly to both taxpayers and the IRS. There might already be opportunities for brave mayors and crafty public financiers. READ MORE


Above the Smoke: The Case for Using Drones for Firefighting The use of drones for firefighting extends beyond enhancing situational awareness to all stages of emergency response. By helping with fire prediction, detection and training, a fire department drone can assist with firefighting before a fire engine even leaves the station. LEARN MORE


AI Portends New Cybersecurity Risks, Opportunities for Higher Ed While new artificial intelligence technologies could be used for nefarious purposes such as creating more convincing phishing attacks, experts say the technology might also automate and strengthen IT security protocols. READ MORE


AI-Powered ‘Virtual Agent’ Could Help 911 Call Centers The tool aims to take the load off of understaffed 911 call centers by handling less critical tasks, like routing 311 calls and answering routine queries. READ MORE


Baltimore Presents Another Stress Test for Nation's Supply Chain The Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore has closed the port and a key access road indefinitely. But many shippers and other companies were already more attuned to supply chain disruptions due to the pandemic. READ MORE


California Pays $390K for Sacramento Levee Repair Reimbursement Due to a series of atmospheric river storms in 2022, several levees broke along Sacramento County’s Cosumnes River, causing three deaths. The levee repairs were completed last year. READ MORE


California Releases Generative AI State Procurement Guidelines Developed by state agencies, the regulations are intended to assist entities and vendor partners on incidental and intentional GenAI procurements. Their release follows considerable state explorations in generative AI. READ MORE


Connecticut Has Stark Inequities in Neighborhood School Districts The state is home to 23 of the top 300 most unequal school system borders in the country, including eight of the top 100. Only three states have more entries in the top 100, all of which have significantly larger populations. READ MORE


Deaths Decline in N.C. Jails but Remain Historically High Jails across the state have seen their first reduction in deaths in seven years. But investigations of the 63 deaths revealed supervision failures in more than a third of them. READ MORE


Decoding Failures: How to Better Manage Infrastructure Risk Billion-dollar transportation “megaprojects” are notoriously prone to cost overruns and delays. With huge federal dollars spurring on such projects, Aurigo’s CEO argues now is the time to achieve better management. READ MORE


Disabled People Are Dying in America’s Crosswalks. We Need to Protect Them. The data on traffic fatalities and injuries doesn’t account for their needs or even count them. Better data would enable better solutions. READ MORE


Election Systems Require Upgrading Ahead of Voting To protect voting outcomes, every step of the election process must be secure. Election machines are particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks because they’re network-connected and expand the attack surface of government entities. DOWNLOAD


Election Workers Face Challenges but There Is Help In the face of concerns like AI-powered phishing, tensions around discussing misinformation and physical threats, election workers can turn to several organizations aimed at providing them with help. READ MORE


Euna Solutions Debuts Its Strategic Budgeting Tool The cloud-based software can help public agencies better align their strategic visions with capital, operational and personnel budgets. The move comes at a busy time for the rebranded gov tech vendor. READ MORE


Federal Agencies Issue New Warning About DDoS Attacks As this specific type of cyber attack continues to spike, the federal government is calling for increased alert and defenses from state, local, tribal and territorial governments. READ MORE


Federal Agency Seeks Audits, Transparency for AI Systems A new report from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration calls for better visibility into AI systems, independent evaluations of those that are highest-risk, and consequences for potential risks or harm. READ MORE


Federal Official: EVs a Charged Topic With High-Level Support Demand for electric vehicles is growing internationally and the technology is finding gubernatorial backing at home from both sides of the aisle, Shailen Bhatt, a senior member of the U.S. Department of Transportation, said Friday. READ MORE


Federal, State, Local Cyber Leaders Meet to Discuss Threats Cybersecurity experts from state and local government, as well as top federal agencies, gathered this week to discuss everything from critical infrastructure attacks to concerns about China. Here are some top takeaways. READ MORE


Feeling Pressure from Politicians and Parents, More Superintendents Quit Teachers aren’t the only educators walking off the job. At least 30 percent of districts in every state have seen superintendent turnover in the past five years. READ MORE


Georgia’s Medicaid Alternative Costs Millions Despite Low Enrollment The program has cost taxpayers at least $26 million so far, with more than 90 percent of those funds going to administrative and consulting costs. About 3,500 people have signed up since July. READ MORE


Go Modular: How a Stackable Strategy Helps Governments Modernize Business Systems To optimize business systems and deliver value to taxpayers, governments should focus on a modular strategy that allows them to stack solutions and applications that work together seamlessly — without having to overhaul all their business systems at once. READ MORE


Grants Guide: How to Close Out An Award Award closeout can be stressful. Stay on track and be prepared for the unexpected. This eBook offers best practices, resources, and tips for a closeout that entails less stress and more success. DOWNLOAD


How 4 States Are Trying to Regulate Social Media for Teens In Arkansas, Florida, Georgia and Utah, lawmakers this session are trying to balance digital privacy and children’s mental health issues as they seek to implement social media mandates. READ MORE


How 5G Can Help Improve Situational Awareness for First Responders 5G can support the streaming of large volumes of high-quality video, offering the potential for greatly improved situational awareness. Public safety can benefit from the high speeds and low latency that 5G can offer and that are based on technologies like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), drone data, real-time situational intelligence and more. LEARN MORE


How Bridges Can Be Protected from Ship Collisions The Sunshine Skyway Bridge collision in Florida, back in 1980, changed the way bridges are built. A civil engineer explains what might change after Baltimore. READ MORE


How Can Government Fight Back Against Disinformation? In the midst of an election year, evolving AI has in part led to a massive spike in deepfake-powered disinformation, but at a recent Brookings event, experts discussed how lawmakers and officials can play defense. READ MORE


How New Public Transportation Technology is Prioritizing Passenger Safety As technology has advanced, innovative and affordable solutions give public safety agencies the flexibility to update their current software and security measures to state-of-the-art programming and equipment. Learn how technology can help provide passenger safety and security in public transport. SEE HOW


Hybrid Telehealth Tech Allows Docs to Follow EMTs in the Field The tech allows physicians to virtually watch and listen over an EMT’s shoulder as they administer treatment to a sick patient. It’s like having a second set of eyes on challenging, complex situations. READ MORE


Improving Incident Readiness and Response Public sector agencies rarely have enough resources for robust cyber incident readiness and response. Often, the smart choice is to partner with a security service provider with experts who specialize in preparing for cyberattacks and rapidly containing their impact. DOWNLOAD


Long-Awaited Cyber Incident Reporting Rules Taking Shape CISA has published a draft of a new set of federal rules that require critical infrastructure entities to report cybersecurity incidents and ransomware payments, opening it up to comments. READ MORE


Making AI Work for Government: It All Comes Down to Trust Experts say safe and effective use of artificial intelligence requires transparency, explainability and auditability. Users of the tech also have to trust the people who made it. READ MORE


New Orleans Council Approves Land Swap to Move City Hall The unanimous vote will allow the city to exchange some of its own land for a parcel that is currently owned by the state. If the mayor and state commissioner approve, city hall and the Civil District Court will relocate. READ MORE


New Research: How Outdated Business IT Is Holding States Back You can’t serve the public effectively with manual processes and obsolete technologies. This is especially true in government, where business applications for functions like budgeting, procurement, payments, permitting and grants management are long overdue for replacement. READ MORE


New Washington, D.C., Tool Uses Generative AI to Make Data Accessible DC Compass, a new GenAI-based tool launched by the district in partnership with Esri, offers users answers to data-related questions. It is now available in a public beta version to improve its speed and accuracy. READ MORE


New York Lawmakers Pledge Support for AI Consortium With budget negotiations underway, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul's proposal to create an Empire AI consortium to lead responsible development of artificial intelligence is likely to get the $275 million it needs. READ MORE


Opinion: AI Turbocharging Disinformation Attacks on Voters As the general election campaign begins in earnest, we can expect disinformation attacks to target voters, especially in communities of color, while evolving tech makes them harder to identify. READ MORE


Oregon Governor: Risk, Equity Work Key for State's AI Council Gov. Tina Kotek addressed Oregon’s Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council Tuesday at its first-ever meeting. She created the council Nov. 28 by executive order; it has 12 months to deliver a final recommended action plan. READ MORE


Report Finds GenAI Use Up, Plagiarism Down in 7 Countries A 13-month study from Copyleaks found an encouraging decline in plagiarism, and most papers and assignments completed by high school and college students were not found to contain AI-generated text. READ MORE


Report Predicts Top Cybersecurity Threats for 2024 Cyber criminals are likely to soon target file transfer services, try to compromise the software supply chain and launch novel phishing strategies, according to a new report from Recorded Future. READ MORE


Report: Insecure Passwords Rampant Among .Gov Emails “Password” and “12345” were popular .gov email passwords in 2023, reveals a new report from cyber crime analytics company SpyCloud. There’s also been an increase in password reuse among accounts. READ MORE


Resident First: Essential Elements of a Modern Contact Center Optimizing government contact centers should be part of a broader strategy to create connected agencies -- ones that make information available across all channels, streamline user experience, improve employee performance and job satisfaction, and deliver better services to all constituents. This paper shows how to move in the right direction. DOWNLOAD


San Jose Is Bad at Recycling, But It Has a Plan to Improve In 2015, just 32 percent of the city’s single-family recycling bins were contaminated with non-recyclable material. By 2020, it was more than half. The city hopes education will help. READ MORE


School Voucher Proponents Spend Big to Overcome Rural Resistance Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott used money from billionaire out-of-state allies to defeat fellow Republicans in primaries. READ MORE


Smart Cities and Cybersecurity: Protecting Citizens from Malicious Attacks Smart cities and cybersecurity are inseparable. When you start integrating the Internet of Things with infrastructure, a city cyber attack is, unfortunately, inevitable. But that doesn't mean it has to be successful. READ MORE


Spearphishing Government. A Russian state hacking group is targeting government officials in the U.S. and other countries with phishing emails that pretend to be official government business. Dark Reading has more.


Special: Securing America's Digital Infrastructure Round up industry of best practices on topics such as security, threats, and privacy. See how companies are helping state and local agencies tackle and prepare for all things cybersecurity. NEWS, CONVERSATIONS AND RESOURCES


States See Transportation Funding Threats from EVs and Hybrids New federal regulations would force a shift to fuel-efficient hybrids and electric vehicles in the coming years. States such as New Jersey are already raising gas taxes and adopting EV fees. READ MORE


Tampa’s $100M Park Represents a Huge Management Failure What started as a $200,000 renovation to Fair Oaks Park has ballooned into a multimillion-dollar project. The total estimated cost will triple the city’s record for spending on a park. READ MORE


Tempe, Ariz., to Pilot GPS-Based Traffic Signal Priority The city will explore using GPS technology from LYT to give green lights to emergency vehicles. The initiative, at a dozen intersections, will preserve its existing, optical-based system and compare their performance. READ MORE


The 2024 Election and the Need for Robust Website Security This fact sheet from CivicPlus offers a concise, high-level overview of vital cybersecurity practices to consider in preparation for the upcoming 2024 US election. DOWNLOAD


The Nation Can’t Afford Further Backsliding on Public Health Proven measures to protect health such as vaccines and even fluoridation are under increasing threat. Misinformation must be combated with facts about the way these interventions save lives. READ MORE


The Number of Migrant Farm Workers in Washington Has Plunged Dramatically Total hired farm labor in the state dropped 23 percent from 2017 to 2022, more than twice the national rate of decline. Migrant farm labor fell even more. READ MORE


Trolls and Their Tolls on Social Media Communicators This eBook from CivicPlus offers strategies for dealing with online trolls and guidance on how social media communicators can keep the peace on their websites without restricting free expression and meaningful and productive conversations. DOWNLOAD


U.S. ED, CISA Form Council to Tackle School Cybersecurity The new Government Coordinating Council will work with all levels of government to open channels of structured communication and put best practices into action in K-12 districts nationwide. READ MORE


Veritone Adds a New AI Chatbot to Evidence Management The new product could help police find evidence and access records more quickly, the company says. Veritone recently launched another AI-backed tool for digital evidence management as more agencies embrace artificial intelligence. READ MORE


Want to Lower Your City’s Transportation Emissions? Drive Less Reducing vehicle miles is the most powerful way to cut greenhouse gas emissions, an executive at StreetLight Data said. Its new 2024 U.S. Transportation Climate Impact Index ranks the nation’s 100 most populous metropolitan areas. READ MORE


Wary on Water. The EPA and White House want states to ramp up water and wastewater system cybersecurity against threats from Iran and China, reports the Verge.


Washington Law Safeguards Libraries Amid National Attack Legislators in 27 states have proposed bills this year that could harm libraries or limit the books and services they provide. But a new law in

Washington state aims to prevent such efforts. READ MORE


What Will the EU AI Act Mean for Ed Tech in the U.S.? Some experts say the new European Union Artificial Intelligence Act could have implications for U.S. ed-tech developers who sell products in the EU, especially if it influences domestic policy changes in the U.S. READ MORE


What’s New in Digital Equity: How Many State Digital Equity Plans Have Been Accepted? Plus, a mapping tool helps inform the permitting process, tribes in New Mexico get $10 million for digital equity, and more. READ MORE


Who Should Regulate Kids’ Access to Social Media? Complete bans, age verification and new online tools are in play as governments, the tech industry and parents contend for influence and control in determining how to keep minors safe online. READ MORE


Workers Must Be Paid for Time Spent on Security Checks The California state Supreme Court ruled that employers across the state must pay their workers for the time they spend driving to the gates and being searched, as well as when they are required to stay on campus during lunch. 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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