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Aid for state and local IT may come after all

Upcoming legislation could provide new aid for state and local governments that need to modernize their IT systems and shield their data from cyberattacks. Lawmakers in the Cyberspace Solarium Commission last week announced plans to introduce a pair of bills that would offer up $28 billion split across three grant programs. Emergency aid for addressing IT during the pandemic and another fund for cybersecurity would be available alongside a $25 billion fund for state agencies and municipalities seeking to upgrade their outdated technology over the next five years. Though the importance of IT has often been overlooked by Congress, Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., one of the bill's sponsors, told StateScoop that "legislators really get it" now. Colin Wood reports.

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Massachusetts bets on blockchain

Blockchain, a technology that a handful of state and local governments have been prodding curiously the past several years with few major developments, will get another push in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative’s Innovation Institute announced this month it will explore how the technology could be adopted within municipal governments to improve transparency and reliability in recordkeeping. “It is about efficiency and it is about cost containment,” said institute director Patrick Larkin. “If you can create efficiencies that wring out costs and scale it on a regional basis, instead of individual municipalities, removing layers of review or redundant paperwork because of the security and the transparency, here is a value proposition that needs to be developed.” Colin has the story.

Michigan's CAV Corridor

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last week announced plans to build a new test bed for connected and autonomous vehicle technology along a 40-mile stretch of highway outside Detroit. The road will still be open to normal cars, but over the next two years, state officials and their research partners — which include companies like Ford and Waymo — will build new roadside devices that can communicate with vehicles. Branded as the “world’s most sophisticated roadway,” officials said the project will spur economic development as it provides a vendor-neutral platform for emerging transportation technologies. Ryan Johnston has more.

States are turning to data

In case you missed it: As data plays a growing role in how state governments manage the health crisis, Results for America and the National Governors Association last week named seven states they say are leading the nation in evidence-based policymaking. Colorado, Connecticut, Minnesota, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah and Washington were recognized, and in a webinar leaders from those states shared best practices and some of the challenges that have accrued in recent months. Connecticut state epidemiologist Dr. Matthew Cartter said he's sometimes been challenged in acquiring reliable statistics on even some of the most basic measures of how government is fighting the virus. Read on.

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