Today in #OpenGov 7/3/2014


Keep reading for today’s look at #OpenGov news, events, and analysis including a more technologically advanced Department of Veterans’ Affairs, international ISPs taking action towards the British NSA, and a circuit court decision that could potentially limit superPAC donations.

A newspaper with the headline Open Gov

National News

  • Federal and state courts allowed for more than 3,500 wiretaps in 2013, the highest number in recent years. 97 percent of the wiretaps were for “mobile devices,” like cellphones. (The Hill)
  • In response to Congress’s reduced disclosure of privately-funded trips, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stated that this new policy “must be reversed.” In the meantime, while Congressional financial-disclosure forms neglect to reflect this travel, privately sponsored trips must still be reported separately to the House’s Office of the Clerk within 15 days of travel and published online there. (GovExec)
  • The Department of Veterans’ Affairs has contracted Accenture for $162 million to modernize its IT structure. With more interoperability between health records and data sharing, the VA plans to offer higher quality medical care. (FCW)

International News

  • Seven Internet Service Providers from around the world have filed a legal complaint against Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters, the NSA’s counterpart across the pond. The ISPs hail from countries including the Netherlands, the US, the UK, Zimbabwe, Korea, and Germany. (The Telegraph)
  • The Australian Government is preparing an open data toolkit to consolidate policies and guidance for agencies managing and sharing government data. (FutureGov)

State and Local News

  • A Vermont super PAC may be subject to campaign contribution limits if it is “functionally indistinguishable” from a traditional political action committee that makes limited contributions to candidates, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday. (U.S. Courts)
  • South Carolina’s longest-serving Sheriff was recently charged with bribery and fraud. Gov. Nikki Haley suspended him after the indictments were released. (New York Times)
  • The Next Generation Financial Information System for California (Fi$Cal) has entered stage one deployment, in which partner agencies and departments will migrate to updated financial and budgeting services. The Fi$Cal plan ultimately aims to streamline 2,500 legacy financial systems used across 124 departments, as well as create a central financial platform for the state that allows for fast, easy access to information. (GovTech)

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