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Reorganizing broadband around equity

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced yesterday the creation of a new Office of Digital Equity and Literacy. The office, located in the state Department of Information Technology's broadband office, will be charged with executing parts of Cooper’s $1.2 billion plan to close the digital divide. North Carolina CIO Jim Weaver named the department's chief of staff, Nate Denny, to serve as the new deputy secretary of broadband, and Jeremy Collins, the state’s director of innovative connectivity, run the new digital equity office. Ryan Johnston reports.

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How Santa Monica caught up

The City of Santa Monica, California, earlier this year gave residents a chance to access nearly all government services from their smartphones with the launch of a “digital city hall” mobile application. Residents of the city, which sits west of downtown Los Angeles, are now able to access nearly all government services from their smartphones. That's a big shift from when city CIO Joseph Cevetello arrived in 2017, which he said was like “being in 1990,” due to the lack of digital services available to residents and city employees and the requirement of paper and in-person interactions to facilitate any government transaction. Ryan has the story.

There's power in pizza

From the first weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, states’ unemployment insurance systems were overwhelmed by record-setting surges in claims for relief, often pushing agencies to adopt new service-delivery technologies. According to a guide published last week by the think tank New America, some of those solutions are successful enough to be replicated elsewhere. One in particular that stands out: a claims tracker developed by the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training that was inspired by the "pizza tracker" that Domino's offers to its customers so they can see the status of their pies from when they go in the oven to when they arrive on the doorstep. Benjamin Freed has more.

ICYMI: Modernization hits the Hill

During a House Oversight Committee hearing on Wednesday, NASCIO Executive Director Doug Robinson and others told lawmakers that despite the many innovations made by state and local governments during the pandemic, much needs to be done to make real modernization stick as the crisis wanes. "As the worst of the deadly pandemic appears behind us, we are currently at a crossroads as to whether the technology and business practice lessons learned over the past fifteen months are here to stay or were just short-term stopgaps," Robinson said. Ben was there.

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