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‘Costs are skyrocketing’

County-government leaders from around the country said Thursday that they’ve been able to use some of the federal relief funds they received in March on technology needs related to the coronavirus pandemic, but that much more will be needed — and with greater spending flexibility — as the health crisis continues to drain their budgets. In total, county governments nationwide stand to face budget shortfalls totaling $202 billion due to COVID-19, leaders of the National Association of Counties said yesterday. But additional federal assistance remains stalled, with Senate Republicans now not expected to introduce an aid package until next week, raising the specter of more layoffs and service cuts at the local level. “Government needs to be pedaling faster, doing more, making sure people are okay,” said Harris County, Texas, Judge Lina Hidalgo.   Benjamin Freed reports.

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New York State pushes broadband review

New York State lawmakers passed a bill this week that would require the state’s public service commission to review which parts of the state receive adequate broadband service and which do not. The “Comprehensive Broadband Connectivity Act” would order the commission to study the affordability and availability of broadband, and make recommendations on the level of regulation, competition and technologies that telecommunications providers currently use. New York is the second-most connected state in the country, with 96.8% of the population having access to wired broadband, but there are still urban and rural gaps where as little as 15% of residents have a connection. Ryan Johnston has details.

Mississippi CIO Craig Orgeron announces retirement

Mississippi Chief Information Officer Craig Orgeron is retiring next month after 23 years with the state government, he announced this week. In an exit interview with StateScoop, Orgeron, one of the longest-tenured state CIOs, reflected on his nine years in the state's top IT job. "I think it’s the mission of it, this feeling that the mission you’re part of really makes a difference,” he said. Colin Wood has more.

CrowdStrike's Rob Sheldon on election security, cybersecurity during pandemic

Rob Sheldon, head of technology strategy for public sector at CrowdStrike, says everyone has a role to play in safeguarding the nation's election systems. He also discussed how COVID-19 changed everything for cybersecurity. Watch the interview.

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