State / Local

  • States eager to attract cybersecurity companies

    As the threat of cyberattacks grows, Maryland, Washington D.C., and Virginia want to cash in on the growing business of cybersecurity. Analysts say that several states are using tax breaks to get in on the $207 billion cybersecurity industry, which is expected to show “impressive growth” in the next five years.

  • Nevada Sheriff wants DHS to do more before, rather than after, attacks

    Clark County, Nevada, Sheriff Doug Gillespie says DHS needs to make a bigger effort to help local law enforcement work on preventing terrorist attacks, instead of responding to them after the fact. Gillespie used the Boston Marathon bombings as an example of the importance of prevention efforts, noting that the response to the attacks was handled well, but that people were already killed and injured.

  • USDA announces additional emergency watershed protection funding

    USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will send an additional $66.8 million in Emergency Watershed Protection Program funds to help disaster recovery efforts in fifteen states.

  • States move to draft their own drone laws

    Advances in drone technology and drop in prices have led media and other organizations, and even private citizens, to purchase drones to do their own investigations. Several states have now drafted their own drone laws.

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  • Newark to raise water rates to pay for infrastructure

    A report presented to Newark’s city council said that the town’s water and sewer rates will be increased by more than 60 percent over the next ten years in order to pay for $500 million in infrastructure repairs to the town’s faulty and outdated meters, century-old, leaky pipes, and broken valves.

  • Texas to appeal FEMA decision not to declare West, Texas a disaster area

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said President Obama would not declare West, Texas a disaster area in the wake of the massive fertilizer plant explosion there two months ago, and Texas governor Rick Perry is not happy. FEMA said Texas did not make the case the state lacked funds for cleanup and recovery efforts.

  • New Jersey faces costly water infrastructure upgrades

    Before Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey, state officials knew they had much work ahead of them to update the state’s water infrastructure. The damage Sandy inflicted only highlighted the inadequacies of New Jersey’s outdated wastewater, stormwater, and drinking water infrastructure. Upgrading the system will be costly, but not doing so will be costlier.

  • Justice Department endorses NYPD’s stop-and-frisk

    The Justice Department (DOJ) has entered the debate on the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy, telling a federal judge that DOJ endorses the program as long as there is independent oversight to monitor changes in the policy if civil rights violations occur.

  • California’s San Onofre nuclear power plant retired due to safety concerns

    Southern California Edison (SCE) has decided it will retire the San Onofre nuclear power plant located on the California coast. The decision comes after officials debated for over a year whether the twin reactors could be safely restarted. The power plant is located in a populated area, with millions living near it.

  • Nevada lawmakers fail to restore DHS funds to Las Vegas

    Members of the Nevada congressional delegation were taken aback when they found that Las Vegas would lose DHS funding for anti-terror programs, and immediately began to work their fellow lawmakers on the Hill to add money to DHS security grants to cities. The effort failed, and Las Vegas will have to find other sources of funding for some of the city’s security programs.

  • Iowa City to ban red-light cameras, drones, license plate readers

    Iowa City could become the first city in the United States to issue a sweeping ban on three law-enforcement technologies:  drones, license plate readers, and red-light cameras. Privacy advocates say each of these technologies poses a threat to privacy, and the cumulative effect of using all three would turn America into a surveillance society.

  • Thousands of U.S. bridges in “fracture critical” condition

    There are currently 66,749 structurally deficient bridges and 84,748 functionally obsolete bridges in the United States – about a quarter of the nation’s 607,000 bridges. With declining federal funds for bridge repair, the burden of maintenance has shifted to states, which spent $28.5 billion last year on bridge work – up from $12.3 billion in 1998.

  • California Democratic lawmakers want a go-slow approach to fracking

    California may be on the verge of an oil rush. It is estimated that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, at the Monterey Shale formation may tap reserves of fifteen billion barrels of oil. Democratic lawmakers do not see it that way, and have proposed numerous anti-fracking bills aiming to control the use of the controversial technology. Ten bills have been tabled so far, and more are on the way.

  • DHS cuts funding for Las Vegas’ terrorism-related programs

    Federal aid to terrorism-related programs in Las Vegas has been steadily decreasing in recent years. Next year, the city which boasts fifteen of the world’s largest hotels, and which is home to more than forty million tourists a year, will no longer receive any DHS funds for terrorism-related security programs.

  • Oakland wants to write its own gun control laws

    The leaders of Oakland, California, say that state gun laws are not suitable for their crime-infested city. They want to write their own gun law, saying it would not ban guns, but would allow the city to have tighter controls on who owns and who is selling them and buying them.