July 20, 2024

Selected links to items concerning government operations posted on the Internet during the week ending July 19, 2024

AI and The Law  A report posted on Sui Generis, a New York Law Blog" by Nicole Black, Esq., addressing using AI in and by law firms. Click the text following highlighted in blue to access the report:  New Report Highlights GenAI Adoption Trends in Law.


AI Gun Scan Company, ZeroEyes, Raises $53M  The company has raised more than $100 million in equity and debt from private investment firms, and it has hired more than 150 people, some of them veterans, half in the Philadelphia area. READ MORE


Are We More at Risk of Infectious Disease Now Than Ever?  From COVID to Lyme disease, there are numerous illnesses that residents across Connecticut and the nation are at risk of. But does that mean we are more at risk today than times in the past? READ MORE


Are We Only 20 Years from the Singularity?  When futurist Ray Kurzweil popularized the idea that AI would one day surpass human intelligence, he predicted its occurrence in 2045. With two decades to go, now is the time to get ahead on regulating it. READ MORE


At First Meeting, R.I. AI Task Force Considers Advisers  Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee announced the group’s membership, and that he would host its inaugural gathering, on Friday. Members will assess the risks and opportunities in artificial intelligence. READ MORE


Atlanta AI Council Meets at Last, Looks to Create Committees  The new council, chaired by Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, held its inaugural gathering at the end of June, six months after it was announced. The group may create committees to get more heavily involved in day-to-day operations. READ MORE


Atlanta Cyclists Warn of E-Bike Dangers on Shared Paths  Atlanta limits e-bike motors to 20 miles per hour on shared-use paths, but there have been several reports of bikes traveling at speeds up to 70 mph. READ MORE


Big Batteries Were Key to California Grid Surviving Recent Heat Wave  The state’s power grid maintained service throughout a nearly three-weeklong record-setting heat wave. Officials are crediting investments in clean energy, particularly in 10,000 megawatts of battery storage.  READ MORE


Boston to Roll Out Tap-to-Pay Transit Fare Payment Option  The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, in partnership with Cubic Transportation Systems, will introduce new contactless tap-to-ride technology, where riders tap a credit card or digital wallet to pay transit fares. READ MORE


Can a Gov Tech Supplier Help Reduce Recidivism Rates?  That’s one of the main ideas driving a deal between Geographic Solutions and California prison authorities. The company’s software is helping give soon-to-be-released inmates a chance to apply for jobs. READ MORE


ChatGPT and Google Gemini Pass Ethical Hacking Exams  Researchers at the University of Missouri say the automation and speed of large language models could be useful in cyber defense, but they can’t yet replace human cybersecurity experts. READ MORE


Chicago Teaches Barber Students How to Reverse Overdoses  Rush University Medical Center is using its classes of barber and hair stylist students to help combat the opioid crisis by providing them training about substance use disorders and how to administer Narcan. READ MORE


Chinese Tech Firm Files to Launch 10K Low-Orbit Satellites  Plus, Waymo reports 50,000 weekly driverless taxi rides in three major cities, research finds investments in renewable energy are paying off and parrots, it turns out, like to FaceTime their friends. READ MORE

Clay County, Ind., Declares Local Disaster After Cyber Attack  The local government declared a “local disaster emergency” due to a “significant disruption in services as a result of a criminal ransomware attack.” This follows disruptions to the county courthouse and probation/community corrections. READ MORE


Cloud Procurement: Myths and Opportunities  With the expiration of emergency procurement provisions, many agencies have returned to traditional procedures after a period of unprecedented flexibility and rapid delivery of cloud-based services. But government IT leaders may have more latitude to take advantage of cloud-based solutions than they realize. This thought leadership paper debunks common misconceptions about cloud procurement and outlines strategies for simplifying procurement processes.


Connecticut’s Digital Equity Work Supports Regional Efforts  Digital Equity Program Manager Lauren Thompson on building a people-centered program, maximizing federal funding and making sure residents have the tools they need to get online in Connecticut. READ MORE


FBI Revamps Criminal Justice Data Security Policy  Revisions to the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Security Policy affect all entities who have access to that data, including education departments, police, vendors and more. READ MORE


Feds Give Georgia’s Blue Bird $80M for EV School Buses  The bus maker will receive the money under the Domestic Auto Manufacturing Conversion Grants program plan, which aims to spur U.S. production of electric, hydrogen or hybrid vehicles. It will convert a factory to produce the buses. READ MORE

First-of-its-Kind Gender-Based Violence: Law, Policy, and Practice Course Gives Students Real-World Experience  Albany Law School continues to find innovative ways to advance its curriculum to prepare students for a career in law. A fitting example is the new Gender-Based Violence: Law, Policy, and Practice class. The two-credit course, first offered in the spring semester of 2024, focuses on the first-of-its-kind federal plan U.S. National Plan to End Gender-Based Violence: Strategies for Action, which was adopted in the spring of 2023. READ MORE 

Floodbase Aims to Bring More Real-Time Clarity to Flood Risk  The company, which already serves the federal government, has released a data-based product to other public agencies. The goal is to help officials with flood response, management and recovery operations. READ MORE


Florida Welcome Signs With DeSantis Motto Cost $60K  The state now has signs that welcome visitors to “The Free State of Florida” at 24 locations along highways and two welcome centers. The slogan has been used in Gov. Ron DeSantis’  ampaign since at least 2022.  READ MORE


Florida Will Pull Digital ID App from Stores, Redo It  In an email Wednesday, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles said it will revise the Florida Smart ID application, and asked users to delete it. The app has since been deactivated. READ MORE


Future-Proofing the Public Sector with Technology Modernization  As advancements in technology speed up, government agencies face a decision: maintain old legacy systems or invest in modern technology. The imperative for leaders is not just about keeping pace with technological advancements but about reducing risks by making smart choices that will stand the test of time. By all measures, migrating legacy IT system functions to the cloud is the smart choice. DOWNLOAD


Google Public Sector unveils AI thought leadership hub: Helping organizations innovate  Google launches new thought leadership hub detailing AI tools designed to address public sector challenges, from healthcare to sustainability.  Explore Real-world AI in Action For the Public Sector


Google's AI hub: How AI is empowering the public sector  Discover how adaptive, secure, and responsible AI is helping modernize government services. Explore case studies, white papers, and expert insights.  Discover How AI is Transforming Citizen Services


Guarding Gold: Cybersecurity Challenges Ahead of the Paris Olympics  Preparations for the Paris Summer Olympics have been going on for years. And given the expected global audience and international participation, cybersecurity is at the center of the action. READ MORE


Harford County Approves AP African American Studies Curriculum  The Maryland county’s Board of Education unanimously approved the updated coursework this week following hours of public comments. The elective course will be offered next year to juniors and seniors at six schools. READ MORE


Heavy Rains, Floods Force Hundreds to Flee St. Louis Area  Heavy rains on Tuesday threatened failure of the 89-year-old Nashville, Mo., City Reservoir Dam, forcing about 200 people to evacuate their homes. More rain is expected across the region. READ MORE


How ‘Alternative Investments’ Are Dragging Down Pension Performance  The major public funds have almost doubled their investments in high-fee, nontraditional vehicles, and important new research shows how costly it’s been. It’s a wake-up call for greater scrutiny of fee structures and consultants’ assumptions. READ MORE


How Contact Centers Can Innovate Without Disruption  Contact centers are essential to creating a satisfying customer experience (CX) for government agencies and their constituents. In this Government Technology Q&A, Jerry Dotson, vice president of public sector, Avaya Government Solutions, explains how the right CX platform lets government organizations implement new contact center technologies easily and efficiently.  READ MORE


How Governments Are Using AI and GIS to Fast-Track Permits  State and municipal agencies and one of the nation’s most populous counties are integrating AI and GIS into their permitting systems, adding automation and enhancing transparency to improve service and accountability. READ MORE


Is Minnesota’s Governor Taking Fraud Claims Seriously?  Recent reports from the legislative auditor about stolen millions have sparked questions about Gov. Tim Walz’ administration and its oversight of public funds. READ MORE

Massachusetts City Doubles Number of Surveillance Cameras  Officials in Methuen, Mass., have started the process of installing 50 public police cameras in recent weeks as part of the citywide camera network that will cover all 23 square miles of the city. READ MORE


Minnesota Housing Agency Accused of Making Racial Segregation Worse  The Minneapolis-based Stairstep Foundation works with more than 100 Black churches and argued that the Minnesota Advisory Committee has not encouraged or allocated subsidized housing appropriately.  READ MORE


Nebraska Court Rules State Workers Must Return to the Office  Gov. Jim Pillen ordered state workers back in the office at the start of the year, but the employees union balked. A labor court said the union had "engaged in a pattern of willful, flagrant, aggravated, persistent and pervasive prohibited misconduct." READ MORE


New England Attorneys General Notify Cyber Attack Victims  Officials in Massachusetts and New Hampshire are contacting and offering resources to people whose personal and health information may have been compromised in the February Change Healthcare incident. READ MORE


New Jersey Braces for School Smartphone Ban Fighting Officials in Middletown, N.J., have proposed a policy banning smartphone use in classrooms, bathrooms, locker rooms and most spaces outside of high school free periods, as a statewide ban is discussed. READ MORE


Often Overlooked, Printers Require Protection Strategies  We rely on printing and document sharing so often it’s easy to overlook the security vulnerabilities inherent to them. However, both pose significant risks. DOWNLOAD


Political and Labor Leader in Philadelphia Sentenced to 6 Years in Prison  On Thursday, John Dougherty was sentenced to federal prison following convictions of bribery and embezzlement. Dougherty led the state’s most powerful labor union for nearly 30 years. READ MORE


Prepare for a New Dust Bowl  No rainmaker, aqueduct or prayer can save the Ogallala Aquifer from depletion. The battle over its decline pits good policy against powerful agricultural and political interests. READ MORE


Protect Digital Identities from Fraud  Discover strategies to enhance digital identity security and reduce fraud risks. READ THE WHITE PAPER


Ransomware Attack Hits Florida Department of Health  This new cyber attack has disrupted the state’s ability to issue death and birth certificates, and the breach might be putting sensitive patient data at risk. READ MORE


Report: Police Must Evolve to Combat New Age of Cyber Threats  Public safety threats are increasingly blending physical violence, cyber attacks and online influence campaigns. The report calls for new law enforcement training, a national threat system and more. READ MORE


San Francisco Elevates Seasoned Exec to CIO  IT Leader  Interim CIO Michael Makstman, in place since Jan. 1, has been made permanent and will lead the city-county’s Department of Technology. Makstman has been with San Francisco more than six years and was previously its CISO. READ MORE


Seattle to Vote on Record $1.55 Billion Transportation Levy  The proposal would increase property taxes to fund new sidewalks, bike lanes, and other transportation infrastructure. It would replace a $930 million levy expiring this year. READ MORE


See the USA in Your Chevrolet, for About 11 Cents a Mile  Traveling across the West in an electric car turned out to have unexpected thrills, and occasional frustrations. Our reporter found that the chargers were out there — but connecting with them sometimes meant taking the long way around. READ MORE


Self-Service, Automation Driving Public-Sector IT Innovation  Learn how the convergence of self-service and automation in public-sector IT enhances efficiency for government agencies — streamlining access to services, freeing up resources and fostering innovation. LEARN MORE


Should Noncitizens Be Able to Be Cops and Firefighters?  This fall, Denver voters will decide whether people who are legal residents but not U.S. citizens should be able to work as city firefighters and police officers. If approved by a majority, the citizenship requirement will be removed.  READ MORE


Some Police Leave Big Cities to Avoid Scrutiny  Larger departments struggle to hire, despite big salaries and bonuses, while smaller agencies are seeing their incentives yield more hires. READ MORE


South Carolina’s Blueprint Reveals How It Will Leverage AI  The state’s Artificial Intelligence Strategy details how agencies will leverage the technology for predictive analysis, to improve resident services and drive workforce development. Ethics and security are part of the plan. READ MORE


State of Local Government Survey Results - 2024  A recent survey of over 500 local government leaders and if there’s one thing that the results tell us, it’s that the need to do more with less is greater than ever. Download this year’s annual survey to see what the biggest opportunities and obstacles facing the public sector are.  SEE THE RESULTS


States Tighten Funeral Home Rules After Decades of Lax Oversight  Lawmakers in Colorado, Illinois and Michigan are seeking to tighten regulations on the funeral home industry after numerous incidents prompted outrage from the public and grieving families. READ MORE


Strengthen Your Digital Identity Today  Learn effective methods to safeguard digital identities and prevent online fraud.  ACCESS THE FULL WHITE PAPER


Strengthening Supervision for Safer Communities  Staff shortages and rising caseloads are contributing to an increase in the average time adults remain incarcerated. Supervision software can streamline pretrial, probation and parole processes and help officers manage cases more efficiently. This paper explains how modern supervision software can help improve outcomes and protect communities.  DOWNLOAD


The Contributions Older People Could Make to Government  When it comes to public-sector jobs and elective office, age discrimination is real. Governments would do well to tap into the experience and the particular type of intelligence that people of a certain age can bring to bear. READ MORE


The Emerging Strategy for Getting Drivers of the Biggest Gas Guzzlers Into EVs  The top 10 percent of drivers in the U.S. consume more than a third of the gasoline. Some lawmakers hope targeting them with EV incentives will help reduce emissions more quickly. READ MORE


The Expensive Help Texas Is Getting at the Border  The federal government has deployed the National Guard to Texas’ border with Mexico for years, but a number of states have dug into their own budgets to send more military and law enforcement personnel. Some states have spent millions. READ MORE


The Mission: Connect Every American  From tough terrains to harsh climates, connecting every American requires resilience. Witness the relentless efforts to bridge the digital divide. [CONTENT PROVIDED BY NCTA] STREAM THE DOCUFILM NOW


The Real Reason Local Governments Are Facing More ADA Non-Compliance Fines  Perceived redesign costs, unknowledgeable website design partners, and limited maintenance resources are holding too many municipalities back from ADA compliance. LEARN MORE


The Winners and Losers of Pennsylvania’s $47.6B Budget  The state’s budget will include big changes to how the state funds its public schools and offers a new approach to higher ed. But residents earning minimum wage and SEPTA won’t be so lucky in financial allocation this year.  READ MORE


Two Years In, Americans Still Learning What the 988 Crisis Line Is All About  The national Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is two years old. Americans know it’s there, but not many know what it does.  READ MORE


Under Watchful Eyes, Guilford County Upgrades Its 911 Center  One of North Carolina's largest counties is deploying a new emergency communications system from Hexagon. The exec running the 911 center — now the new president of NENA — details what will happen and what’s at stake. READ MORE


Use This Framework to Modernize Your Government Grant Programs  This framework accommodates the uniqueness of each government grant program so you can modernize at your own pace. LEARN MORE


Washington State Launches Food Poisoning  Reporting Tool  Announced  Monday, the Foodborne Illness Notification System from the Washington Department of Health is an online platform residents can use to notify authorities about illness or food safety concerns. READ MORE


West Virginia Appeals to SCOTUS Over Transgender Sports Ban  State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed a petition with the court asking it to overturn an appellate court finding that the ban violated Title IX rights. READ MORE


What’s New in Digital Equity: Rating Low-Cost Internet Plans  Plus, the FCC is taking steps to update broadband data collection, more states have had their initial proposals for BEAD funding approved, Oakland got a grant to expand broadband infrastructure, and more. READ MORE


When ‘Universal’ Pre-K Really Isn’t: Barriers to Participating Abound  A lack of awareness, limited hours and a shortage of teachers are among the hurdles.  READ MORE


Why Scammers Are Targeting Cryptocurrency ATMs  Experts say crypto ATMs have become a vehicle for international criminal enterprises, and that millions of dollars’ worth of fraud is carried out using the machines in the U.S. alone. READ MORE


Will the 2024 Elections Lead to a Massive CIO Changeup?  With 11 gubernatorial elections impending, should state and local governments expect to see major changes in the leadership of technology and innovation? Government Technology digs into the data. READ MORE


Winning Online Budget Books  From budget books to open data, see how local government teams around the country are making their voices, and impact, heard with these online publications. SEE HOW


Yolo County, Calif., Moves to Gov Domains for Security  Yolo County is proactively enhancing the security and trustworthiness of its online presence by transitioning all county professional email accounts and webpages from the ".org" domain to the ".gov" domain. 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.
NYPPL Blogger 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.
New York Public Personnel Law. Email: