State / Local

  • More states move to limit LPR use

    Law-enforcement units across the United States have been using license plate readers (LPRs) to monitor vehicles on public roads in order to locate missing individuals, investigate murderers, or track hit-and-run drivers. Privacy advocates are concerned with the wholesale storage of license plate information, and the fact that some municipalities have no limits on how long plate numbers can be stored. LPRs proponents are worried that the recent revelations about the NSA surveillance programs make it difficult for LPRs and other law-enforcement technology to get a fair hearing.

  • Wisconsin legislature considering restriction on LPRs

    State legislators in Wisconsin have proposed a law to limit the use of license plate readers, drawing criticism from local law enforcement. Republican state Representative David Craig, the sponsor of the proposed legislation, said: “The vast majority of [the LPR] images are becoming nothing more than a database of the whereabouts of average citizens. The time has come to ensure the civil rights of citizens are not being violated, while also ensuring law enforcement has the tools needed to effectively enforce our state’s laws.”

  • List of most-at-risk L.A. buildings to be released

    Scientists have compiled a list of concrete buildings in Los Angeles which could be at risk of collapsing in a major earthquake. The list identifies about 1,500 concrete structures built before 1980 which need further study to determine their risk level. Structural engineers insist that hundreds could die if any of the buildings collapsed.

  • Local enforcement of immigration law does not achieve intended goals

    A new study found that when local law enforcement agencies begin to inquire immigrants about their immigration status, some immigrants relocate within the United States but few go back relocate to their home country. Those who move to other states tend to be educated – and legally in the United States. The only exception is Arizona’s Maricopa County — which made a name for itself owing to Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s controversial approach to immigration policies — where immigrants are likely to leave the country, perhaps due to unusually intense enforcement and a short distance to the border.

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  • Ohio lawmakers want to limit use of drones by law enforcement

    State lawmakers in Ohio want to limit the use of drones by law enforcement agencies in the state.A proposed bill would require law enforcement to obtain a search warrant before using drones. It would prohibit law enforcement from using drones to search for missing persons, locate illegal marijuana operations, or perform several actions officers currently handle with helicopter surveillance.

  • Rochester, Minn. wants to stop crime before it happens

    The Rochester Police Departmentin Rochester, Minnesota is using IBM’s Infosphere Identity Insightto predict, and combat, crime. InfoSphere Identity Insight is used to identify frequent crime offenders, and even when multiple false identifications belonging to one individual are stored on record, the associated relationships of those identities could lead to the correct individual.

  • Rising temperatures threaten Salt Lake City’s water supply

    In an example of the challenges water-strapped Western cities will face in a warming world, new research shows that every degree Fahrenheit of warming in the Salt Lake City region could mean a 1.8 to 6.5 percent drop in the annual flow of streams that provide water to the city. By midcentury, warming Western temperatures may mean that some of the creeks and streams that help slake Salt Lake City’s thirst will dry up several weeks earlier in the summer and fall.

  • Preventing a Bhopal-like catastrophe in New Jersey

    New Jersey is home to ninety facilities which produce and store large quantities of highly toxic chemicals. A superstorm or terrorist attack could doom millions of people around southern New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania to a Bhopal, 1984-like fate if either of these facilities and their storage tanks were affected.Typically, in the aftermath of major disasters, a blue ribbon panel is created to review preventative measures that could have been taken before the disaster. Security experts say that there is no need to wait for a post-disaster blue ribbon panel investigation to know what sensible safety measures should be implemented now.

  • U.S. first nuke in thirty years mired in costly legal wrangling

    The U.S. first nuclear construction project in thirty years is the center of a $900 million lawsuit pitting Westinghouse Electric Co. against Georgia Power. The $14 billion project is about twenty months behind schedule and $900 million over budget, and each side blames the other for the delays and cost overruns.

  • Canadian city developed mathematical formula to evaluate risk

    The City of Hamilton, Ontario has ranked Terrorism fourth on its list of top ten emergency risks, below Hazardous Materials and Explosions, Energy Supply Emergencies, and Epidemics/Pandemics.The city’s ranking of top 10 emergencies for which it plans is not a mere judgment call: The city’s emergency management office uses a mathematical equation to rate the risks to the city and its population.

  • Maryland preparing for sea level rise

    Maryland has 3,100 miles of tidal shoreline. A scientific report recommends that it would prudent for the state to prepare for a sea level rise of 1.4 feet by 2050.Maryland’s CoastSmart Communities Initiative (CCI) provides grant funding for coastal communities which want to reduce their vulnerabilities to the effects of coastal hazards and sea level rise by becoming ready, adaptive, and resilient.

  • Maryland preparing for sea level rise

    Maryland has 3,100 miles of tidal shoreline. A scientific report recommends that it would prudent for the state to prepare for a sea level rise of 1.4 feet by 2050.Maryland’s CoastSmart Communities Initiative (CCI) provides grant funding for coastal communities which want to reduce their vulnerabilities to the effects of coastal hazards and sea level rise by becoming ready, adaptive, and resilient.

  • Calif. Gov. Brown vetoes restrictive assault weapon measures

    Governor Jerry Brown of California, saying that “The state of California already has some of the strictest gun laws in the country,” on Friday vetoed two measures which would have restricted the sale and possession of some semi-automatic assault weapons, and two other measures which would have tightened firearms reporting requirements and denied guns to DUI offenders. The governor’s vetoes derailed the most sweeping gun legislation measures to be considered so far this year by the California legislature. Brown signed several smaller pieces of gun legislation into law on Friday.

  • Gov. Jerry Brown: only U.S. citizens on juries

    In recent days, Governor Jerry Brown of California approved bills allowing driver’s permits to illegal immigrants and allowing illegal immigrants with a law degree to practice law in the state. Yesterday, however, he drew a tight line around jury service by vetoing a bill which would have made it possible for legal immigrants who are not citizens to serve on juries.

  • A state of disrepair: Thousands of U.S. aging bridges risk collapse

    Of the 607,380 bridges listed in the recent U.S. National Bridge Inventory, 65,605 bridges are classified as “structurally deficient” and 20,808 as “fracture critical,” with 7,795 of those bridges designated as both structurally deficient and fracture critical. Experts say this indicates significant disrepair and a risk of collapse. These 7,795 structurally deficient, fracture critical bridges carry more than twenty-nine million drivers a day.