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State and local IT aid missing in pandemic bill

A $3 trillion pandemic relief package House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced this week contains nearly $1 trillion in assistance to state and local governments. While the overall dollar figure meets what governors had been seeking, it doesn't include the specific funding for state and local IT and cybersecurity operations that groups like NASCIO, the National Governors Association and even some members of Pelosi's caucus had urged. Still, some of the bill's components would support states’ technological needs, including replenishments of federal broadband funds and $3.6 billion for election administration. But getting federal aid to state and local governments may be a slow process. Despite the bipartisan NGA urging Congress to move quickly, Senate Republicans are shrugging off the new bill, while President Trump pronounced it "dead on arrival." Benjamin Freed reports.

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911 services pare back as pandemic threatens budgets

Despite declining numbers of 911 calls, emergency call centers are struggling to maintain staffing levels, locate enough personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies and fund technological maintenance and upgrades as the coronavirus pandemic wears on, according to survey results published this week by the National Emergency Number Association. “PSAPs are foreseeing hiring freezes and spending freezes so they’re taking care of what they can right now with the funds they already have authorized for them,” said Dan Henry, NENA’s governor affairs director. One solution might be if the federal jobs classification system defined 911 operators as emergency responders instead of clerical workers, Henry said. Colin Wood reports.

Broadband industry doesn't want to wait on data for upgrades

Efforts from the Federal Communications Commission to expand both fixed-wireless and mobile broadband across rural America will require more granular data to reach their full potential, but deployment efforts shouldn’t be delayed any longer, according to industry stakeholders and legislators testifying at a Senate hearing on Wednesday. Steven Berry, chief executive of the Competitive Carriers Association, said choosing between accurate maps and expediting infrastructure funds is a “false choice” that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai laid out when he testified at a hearing in March that the FCC wouldn’t be able to improve its coverage maps in a matter of months. “We can walk and chew chewing gum at the same time,” Berry said. Ryan Johnston has more.

StateScoop 50 Awards open for voting

Voting is open for the 2020 StateScoop 50 Awards! Cast your vote today to recognize and celebrate the top 50 leaders in the state government community. The annual StateScoop 50 Awards honor the best and the brightest who make state government more efficient and effective, including people and organizations making strides in innovation, cybersecurity and service delivery. The awards will be presented during NASCIO's year-end conference in Minneapolis in October. Vote now.

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