April 06, 2024

Selected links to items focusing on government operations posted on the Internet during the week ending April 5, 2024

8 Features of the Best Audit Management Software for Public Sector The shift to electronic working papers in the audit community fosters collaboration but inadvertently generates dark data. Audit management software offers solutions to access, analyze and maximize audit data's value. READ MORE


A Possible Future for Downtowns Out in the Suburbs Many center-city downtowns continue to struggle, but Americans, especially younger adults, still want walkability. READ MORE


AI for Everyone M365 Copilot is a set of tools that helps individuals, agencies, and organizations achieve more using AI. Bolster productivity with AI using the tools you already know and love. Try Microsoft Copilot 


Alarming Signs Ahead of ‘First Presidential Campaign’ of AI Era Experts point to the swift rise of artificial intelligence and generative AI, and its early use in political campaigns, as evidence it could be “weaponized to deceive voters or harm candidates” during the general election this fall. READ MORE


Amazon Makes Fresh AI Push With Accenture, Anthropic The effort is designed to appeal to the public sector along with banks, insurance companies and other organizations. Amazon and its partners want to bring new efficiencies and customization to the use of generative AI. READ MORE


App Helps First Responders Be Proactive About Mental Health The Alli Connect platform uses machine learning technology to help first responders connect with mental health professionals before their problems become severe and prioritizes user privacy. READ MORE


ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE NEWSLETTER Be the first to learn about creative applications of artificial intelligence in state and local government. SUBSCRIBE TODAY


Australia’s Cyber Revamp. Proposed new laws and regulations aim to improve cybersecurity, after the country suffered wide-reaching incidents, per Dark Reading.


California Bill Would Create Multi-Partner AI Research Hub Artificial intelligence and cybersecurity are fertile ground for state lawmakers this session. Bills they also propose include making a joint risk analysis of generative AI and changes to the California Cybersecurity Maturity Metric. READ MORE


California Forever Planning Group Wins Big Against Farmers The Silicon Valley billionaires that are trying to build a utopian city in Solano County, Calif., won a key court decision. A judge refused landowners’ request to throw out a lawsuit accusing them of price fixing. 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


California’s Unemployment Rate Is the Nation’s Highest In February, the state reached an unemployment rate of 5.3 percent, the highest in the country. Since 1976, California has created more jobs than any other state (9.7 million), accounting for 13 percent of all U.S. hires. READ MORE


Champ Titles Raises $18M as It Brings on More State DMVs Champ aims to be the big player when it comes to the digital title industry, with West Virginia the center of that push. The company continues to take on new clients, with at least two more states soon expected to use the company’s software. READ MORE


Connecticut Officials Vow to Close Loopholes in Disability Pension System State leaders promised a series of sweeping reforms to address problems in the disability pension system, just hours after the publication of a report highlighting poor management. READ MORE


Cybersecurity Maturity Metric. READ MORE


Cybersecurity Tabletop Exercises: How Far Should You Go? With global cyber threats and other international tensions growing, what scenarios should state and local governments consider when conducting exercises to test their people, processes and technology? READ MORE


Dallas-Fort Worth Expects $700M Bump from Solar Eclipse Experts predict that the celestial event could drive millions of dollars for local businesses, including a $179.8 million boost to the restaurant industry and $221.8 million for hotels. 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


Experts Predict an Extremely Active Hurricane Season This Year Researchers predict there will be 11 hurricanes, five of which will reach major hurricane strength, and 23 named storms due to a historically warm Atlantic Ocean and probable La Niña conditions. 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


From Food to Climate: Programs Threatened by California’s Shortfall With California facing a serious budget crunch, lawmakers may have to curb their policy ambitions in a variety of areas. Ahead of April tax collections, it’s not yet clear if proposed cuts will be deep enough. READ MORE


Gain Insight & Access to Key Resources That Can Help Fast-Track Your Cyber Goals Build resilience into your cybersecurity protections to help shield public-facing services from take down and operations from disruption. VIEW RESOURCES


Generative AI Use Proceeding Apace, Florida CISO Says State Chief Information Security Officer Jeremy Rodgers talked about the Sunshine State’s approach to artificial intelligence at a recent cybersecurity conference. A centralized legislative framework around AI does not yet exist, he said. READ MORE


GOVTECH CYBERSECURITY has rounded up industry 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


Grand Traverse County, Mich., Targeted by Cyber Attack A spear phishing cyber attack against Grand Traverse County was stopped by security software before it damaged county computers or disrupted operations, officials report. READ MORE


Group Seeks Federal Funding Ban on AI-Powered Surveillance The NOTICE Coalition, on behalf 42 advocacy organizations representing various student groups, argued in a letter to the U.S. Department of Education that AI-powered security systems violate privacy and human rights. READ MORE


gWorks, Focused on Smaller Agencies, Buys Freedom Systems The acquisition is just the latest for the Nebraska company whose software is used by municipalities, utilities and special districts. Private equity helped make this deal possible, reflecting a larger gov tech trend. READ MORE


How a Modular Business Solutions Strategy Addresses Workforce Gaps State and local governments face ongoing workforce challenges, including budget constraints and difficulty competing with the private sector. Often, antiquated technology and outdated processes make it even harder to attract and retain new employees. READ MORE


How Did the Auto Industry Get the EV Adoption Timeline Wrong? Although electric vehicle sales grew by 50 percent last year, that is far below the 70 percent growth the industry had forecast. High costs, infrastructure access, charging concerns and grid reliability continue to dissuade drivers. READ MORE


How Inclusive Content Can Increase Resident Engagement Local government websites should be resident engagement tools, not digital brochures or org charts. We use intuitive navigation, smart search, and more for optimal self-service. DOWNLOAD NOW


How Public-Private Collaborations Can Fight Ransomware A new report looks at three major counter-ransomware collaborations between the public and private sectors, offering up a list of challenges along with some best practices. READ MORE

How States Are Addressing the High Cost of Housing Housing used to be primarily a local concern. With millions of units needed, state policymakers are exploring ways to boost supply. READ MORE


Identify & Mitigate Your Risks Faster with Cybersecurity Advisory and Service Support Effectively identify and decrease risk across your organization’s attack surface and support your organization’s continuous operations and delivery of government services. LEARN MORE


Jackson County, Mo., Struck by Ransomware Attack The assessment, collection and recorder of deeds offices remain shuttered as the city updates systems following the cybersecurity incident. READ MORE


Kansas Bill Would Create Judicial, Legislative CISOs A recent cyber attack on the state court system underscored the need to boost government defenses. The bill would also bring more consolidation to executive branch IT operations. READ MORE


Kansas Lawmakers Agree to Billion-Dollar Income Tax Cut Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and GOP legislators have agreed to reduce the state’s top income tax bracket, starting at $30,000, from 5.7 percent to 5.5 percent. The proposal would cost $1.4 billion over the next three years. READ MORE


Keep Your First Responders In-The Know: Tools for Dependable Communication The more first responders know about a situation, the better decisions they can make. This paper from Verizon offers practical guidance on the latest strategies and tools for keeping first responders connected. DOWNLOAD


Keeping First Responders Safe: The Latest Tools and Strategies This paper from Verizon details how network upgrades, additional data and artificial intelligence applications are set to change how agencies respond to emergencies and keep first responders safe. DOWNLOAD


Laguna Beach Investigates Inappropriate AI Images of Students Officials at Laguna Beach High School in Orange County, Calif., have launched an investigation after a student allegedly created and circulated inappropriate AI images of other students. READ MORE


Law Enforcement and First Responders Prepare for Monday Eclipse Emergency management officials in Ohio have been prepping for the event for months, anticipating large crowds and slow traffic. Aside from inconvenience, stalled traffic threatens response times to everyday emergencies. READ MORE


Lobbying Helps Rich Cities Get Richer Lobbying at the state and federal level is a good investment for all cities, but pays off most for ones that are already wealthy. READ MORE


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


Longtime Philadelphia Technologist Is Elevated to CIO Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle L. Parker appointed veteran manager Melissa Scott to serve as chief information officer, the city announced Monday. Scott has been on staff more than eight years and arrived from private-sector IT. READ MORE


Lowell, Mass., Considers Cybersecurity Amid Attack Recovery CIO Mirán Fernandez told the City Council that a cyber attack created an opportunity to rebuild a free Wi-Fi service that hadn't followed established protocols during implementation back in 2004. READ MORE


Meeting the Moment with AI Microsoft’s mission is to help every person and organization on planet achieve more. Our approach to AI is grounded in that commitment. Learn how Microsoft is meeting the AI moment


New Central Florida Highway Will Charge EVs as They Drive State Road 516 will be equipped to recharge batteries of electric cars and trucks as they drive along the toll expressway. Although it will be less than five miles long, the road will cost nearly $550 million. 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


Newsom Approves Closure of 3 Prisons but Resists Pressure for More California officials say that the state’s 31 prisons are necessary to accommodate the fluctuating inmate population. Analysts say the cash-strapped state could save money by closing five more. READ MORE


Nine Website Design Techniques to Help Residents Find Information in Two Clicks Local government websites should be easy to navigate. Learn more about CivicPlus's 2-click concept to and build trust within your community by ensuring they can find the information they need in the most efficient way possible. DOWNLOAD NOW


North Carolina Adds to Growing Body of AI Ethics Guidance for Lawyers Read the whole entry


North Carolina Completes Yearslong Transition to NG911 The state began transitioning in November 2018 when Durham County 911 joined via AT&T ESInet, hosting a hosted call solution and text messaging, and Anson County 911 completed the state’s transition in February. READ MORE


North Carolina Schools Say Phone Bans Work, Despite Unpopularity In the 2021-2022 school year, 76 percent of public schools across the nation banned non-academic use of phones during school hours. After some North Carolina schools banned their use, kids are less distracted and getting into less trouble. READ MORE


North Texas Innovation Zone Aims to Drive AV, Delivery Tech The Mobility Innovation Zone in Alliance, Texas, north of Fort Worth, is becoming a center for developing next-gen transportation technologies. It’s situated near an interstate, rail lines and an air cargo hub. READ MORE


Ohio’s 911 System Upgrades Will Save Time and Lives The shift to the Next-Generation 911 program will provide more accurate caller location information, increase the communication methods accessible to dispatchers and will reduce response time, potentially by minutes. READ MORE


Ohio’s Upcoming 911 Upgrade Is ‘Going to Save Lives’ “I can call for a pizza on my cellphone and they know exactly where I am, but emergency service is pretty far behind right now. For something like 911, we should have accurate information. There’s no question about that.” READ MORE


Online Government Services Need a ‘Human Copilot’ Despite progress toward digital services, people are still getting left on the outside looking in. For those having trouble navigating online government, connecting with staff for assistance might be the answer. READ MORE


Outdated Tech in Minnesota Wastes County Workers’ Time The 25-year-old computer system used to manage the state’s child protection cases and social service programs wastes hours each week of individual employees’ time and stalls legislative efforts to improve child welfare. READ MORE


Paper-Based Payments Continue in Cyber-Struck Birmingham Some city sources have attributed a cyber incident in early March to ransomware, although the municipality has only called it a “network disruption.” Birmingham is using paper-based processes to pay staff, but public effects may be more minor. READ MORE


Public-Sector Workforce Returns to Pre-Pandemic Levels, but Gaps Persist After shedding nearly 1 million jobs, staffing levels are now higher than at the start of 2020. But severe shortages remain in several fields such as nursing, public safety and education. 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


Roanoke’s Biotech Renaissance and State-Led Housing Solutions Cities and states are working on novel solutions to old, intractable problems. Governing magazine’s return to print showcases stories of the people who are making them work across the country. READ MORE


Roanoke’s Reinvention: How a Small City Shifted Its Economy Cover Story: Roanoke lost the headquarters of two Fortune 500 companies. It created a promising future by retooling itself for biotech. READ MORE


San Jose CIO: AI ‘Challenges Us to Think Differently’ The Silicon Valley city has marked itself as a leader in AI with establishment of the GovAI Coalition and early adoption of guidelines — and CIO Khaled Tawfik says AI will likely change how leaders approach technology. READ MORE


Seattle Fire Trucks Are Deteriorating Too Fast for Repairs Since 2016, there’s been more than a 50 percent increase in Fire Department vehicles being pulled from service due to breakdowns or malfunctions. Currently, 45 percent of the department’s fire engines are older than 15 years. READ MORE


Starting Smart with Generative AI Generative AI can transform government by enhancing operational efficiency and the constituent experience. READ MORE


Stockton, Calif., Poised to Be Tenant on Floating Data Barge The city will lease space at Stockton 1 Data Center on a barge at the Port of Stockton. San Joaquin County is among other public- and private-sector entities renting space at the Nautilus Data Technologies facility. READ MORE


Texas Once Hustled to Get Kids on State Health Care. Now It’s Kicking Them Off. Texas’ recent unwinding of Medicaid and CHIP has been criticized, dropping more than a million people eligible for the health insurance programs. Decades ago,


Texas officials got kids health insurance in record time. READ MORE


The 2024 Election and the Need for Robust Website Security Local government websites are vital platforms for ensuring transparent, efficient, and secure election processes. However, these platforms are often prime targets for hackers and cybercriminals seeking to exploit vulnerabilities and compromise the integrity of election data. This fact sheet offers a concise, high-level overview of vital cybersecurity practices to consider in preparation for the upcoming 2024 US election. DOWNLOAD


The Pathways We Need to College and Good Jobs It takes partnerships among school districts, higher education, employers and community leaders to unlock the potential for more students to earn a degree that leads to significantly higher lifetime earnings. States can do a lot to make that happen. READ MORE


Timeline of Election Day Preparedness: From Planning to Execution Infographic outlines proactive steps to enhance communication, safety, and security during election season, starting four months prior to election day. DOWNLOAD INFOGRAPHIC


Tips for Overcoming IT Resource Drain in the Public Sector Here are five things you can do to help eliminate IT resource drain within your organization and provide improved IT service to employees and citizens. READ MORE


Transforming Government with Document Process Automation Document process automation (DPA) technology gives agencies a single, cohesive solution to manage their document-based projects. A DPA solution pulls documents from disparate systems into a centralized location that is accessible and visible to all collaborators. The result is a more efficient process that can save government agencies time and money. DOWNLOAD


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


U.S., Britain Will Partner to Safety Test AI Models The two nations have signed a pact committing their AI Safety Institutes to work together in testing emerging artificial intelligence models. Technologists will align their scientific approaches, trade information and do joint testing. READ MORE


Want Government Contracts? Revamp Your Personal LinkedIn A recent survey confirms that government employees are increasingly turning to online platforms like LinkedIn to vet potential vendors. A poorly optimized personal profile could cost a vendor valuable contracts. READ MORE


We Need a Lot More Housing. It Won’t Come from Washington. Biden’s budget would provide billions, along with heavy-handed regulation, but it won’t expand the supply. The way to build more housing and tame prices is for states to encourage local innovation. READ MORE


What’s New in Digital Equity: NTIA Announces $800 Million in Digital Equity Funding Plus, the FCC is preparing for a vote that could restore rules around net neutrality, state digital equity plans are continuing to be accepted, and more. READ MORE


With Tech, El Paso County, Colo., Brings the Outdoors Closer The county, through its Trailability Program, is using off-road TerrainHoppers to make trails accessible to people with disabilities; this year, GPS will enable solo rides. The county is also sharing scenery information via auditory devices. READ MORE


Women's Share of Council Seats in Big Cities Has Grown Dramatically With their numbers up more than 50 percent since 2016, women have achieved near-parity on councils in 15 major cities. Salaries on those councils have climbed an average of 27 percent. READ MORE


Wyoming CISO Steps in as Interim CIO as TR Sheehan Departs Wyoming Interim CIO TR Sheehan will move on from the position he has held twice, and CISO Aaron Roberts will add the CIO role to his duties, for now. Both men have been with the state for more than a decade. 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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