Today in #OpenGov 8/13/2014


Keep reading for today’s look at #OpenGov news, events, and analysis, including lobbyists commingling even closer with industry boards, panels, and commissions in a new representative capacity, skepticism over the contents of Russian humanitarian aid vans inbound for Ukraine, and a redistricting controversy over possible gerrymandering in Florida.

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National News

  • Lobbyists for corporations and industry groups will now be allowed to serve as representatives on more than 1,000 industry boards, panels and commissions, following a new Office of Management and Budget rule. This reversal in the White House’s ban on lobbyists in government comes after several lobbyists filed a suit claiming their constitutional rights had been violated by the restriction. (Politico)
  • FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has created a task force to take “immediate steps to investigate the “illicit and unauthorized use” of cell phone tracking and interception devices, commonly known as IMSI catchers or stingrays. (Ars Technica)
  • Technology companies continue to spar over the extent the government should protect internet user privacy in the era of “big data.” Companies like Microsoft are open to more federal protections of privacy, whereas the Internet Association–composed of tech juggernauts like Facebook, Google, and Yahoo–appealed for more self-regulation of data among companies. (The Hill)
  • The Defense Department is poised to issue a final request for proposals later this month for an $11 billion contract to replace its outdated electronic health record system and provide urgently needed improvements in the data-sharing capabilities between DOD and the Department of Veterans Affairs. (FedScoop)

International News

  • Some 260 trucks thundered across Russia on Tuesday bearing what the Kremlin calls humanitarian aid for the people of the besieged Ukrainian city of Luhansk. The Ukrainian government and NATO, however, are suspicious that military supplies for Donetsk rebels may too be lumped in the trucks. (New York Times)
  • Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan won Turkey’s first direct presidential election Sunday, alarming critics who fear that Tayyip, previously accused of corruption, is bent on a power grab as he embarks on another five years at the country’s helm. (Al Jazeera)

State and Local News

  • The Florida state Legislature Monday evening approved a new congressional map that slightly modifies seven districts in an effort by the GOP-controlled body to comply with a judge’s order to redraw the lines and avoid gerrymandering. The democratic plaintiffs who sued to have the map overturned, h0wever, said the new lines did little to meet the court’s requirements. (Politico)
  • The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged Kansas with failing to disclose a “multibillion-dollar” pension liability to bond investors, leaving them with an incomplete picture of the state’s finances. (Kansas City Star)
  • In the first six months of this year, Wisconsin’s 700-plus registered lobby groups collectively invested $14.1 million trying to shape state law or policy, according to new filings with the state Government Accountability Board. (The Dunn County News)

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