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    TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Gov. Ron DeSantis signed 24 bills into law late Friday, including a measure that limits local impact fees imposed on builders and developers to help pay for infrastructure to handle growth. The latest group of bills earning DeSantis’ signature from the 2021 Legislative session were announced in an email with accompanying transmittal letters to Secretary of State Laurel Lee, lacking the fanfare of a trio of bills focused on military families and veterans the governor signed earlier in the day during a ceremony at American Legion Palm Valley Post 233 in St. Johns County. READ MORE: Florida Scientists Find Rare Bee Species In New Locations The new laws include the creation of a 10-member task force to study unmarked and abandoned African-American cemeteries (HB 37); an effort to crack down on “swatting” by establishing felony charges for falsely reporting a crime in which a police response results in death or great bodily harm (HB 371); and a requirement that school districts notify parents they can exempt children from lessons on reproductive health or any disease, including HIV/AIDS...
    This empty property in Tochigi, a prefecture north of Tokyo, is one of eight million vacant houses that need occupants. Tochigi Akiya The Japanese government is looking for people to occupy some eight million empty homes. Local authorities are giving away free houses and renovation subsidies to incentivize people to move in. Some provinces even have "akiya banks," which are listings of vacant houses available for sale. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. There are millions of vacant homes in Japan, and some of them are being given away nearly for free.  To find occupants for its millions of akiya, or unoccupied homes, the Japanese government is enticing would-be homeowners with financial incentives ranging from free properties to sizeable renovation subsidies. Japan's Housing and Land Survey logged a record high of 8.49 million akiya in Japan in 2018 during its survey of housing trends in the country, conducted every five years. Many of these homes were left empty after relatives died or when people moved away, the survey found. The 2018 survey found a 3.2% increase in...
    Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., told "America Reports" on Friday that the federal government is violating Tennessee's rights under 10th Amendment by moving migrant children into the state without notice, and transferring costs to state and local governments. TENNESSEE LAWMAKERS ALARMED BY REPORTS WHITE HOUSE SECRETLY FLYING MIGRANT CHILDREN INTO STATE MARSHA BLACKBURN: They should be flying these children back to their families in their home countries because these are children that have been traumatized making this journey, as they have been under the cartels, as they have made this journey; the cartels and the coyotes. Secondly, this is a violation of Tennessee's 10th Amendment, right. No one was notified; not your state, your federal, your local officials. And no one knew that this was happening. And see what they are doing with having had a half-million already apprehended at the border this year, and they're from 160 different countries, what they are trying to do is make it appear the border is under control. So they are flying them without anyone's awareness and in different areas, bussing them to cities...
    The U.S. Treasury Department has already doled out $105.3 billion of aid to state and local governments from President Joe Biden’s $350 billion relief package for them under the American Rescue Plan legislation. That means the federal government has handed out about 30% of the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to more than 1,500 entities since it was launched on May 10, according to a statement from the Treasury Department Thursday. The massive infusion of money heading to states and local governments will help them fight the pandemic, replace lost revenue and stoke economic recovery. Tens of thousands of governments are eligible for the funding. “This state and local aid program is going to provide transformative funding to communities across the country, and our Treasury team is focused on getting relief to these communities as quickly as possible,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in the statement. “In the past 11 days, almost a third of the funding has gone out the door, and I’m hopeful communities will be able to rehire teachers and help businesses re-open much sooner...
    Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order on Tuesday making it illegal for schools and governmental entities to implement mask mandates. The new order was announced in a press release on Tuesday and prevents school districts as well as local and county governments, public officials and public health authorities from requiring or mandating Texas citizens to wear a face mask. "The Lone Star State continues to defeat COVID-19 through the use of widely-available vaccines, antibody therapeutic drugs, and safe practices utilized by Texans in our communities," Abbott said. Abbott said that Texans, not the government, "should decide their best health practices" and said that "public school districts or government entities" will be barred from implementing a mask mandate. TEXAS REPORTS ZERO COVID DEATHS 2 MONTHS AFTER BIDEN SLAMMED ‘NEANDERTHAL THINKING’ "We can continue to mitigate COVID-19 while defending Texans’ liberty to choose whether or not they mask up," the governor added. The order allows public schools in Texas to continue requiring masks for students until June 4, after the school year ends. After June 4, students, faculty, parents or...
    (CNN)Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Tuesday prohibiting state governmental entities such as counties, public school districts, public health authorities and government officials from requiring mask wearing."Texans, not government, should decide their best health practices, which is why masks will not be mandated by public school districts or government entities. We can continue to mitigate COVID-19 while defending Texans' liberty to choose whether or not they mask up," Abbott said in a news release.The executive order allows public schools to continue current mask-wearing guidelines through June 4; however, after June 4, no student, teacher, parent or staff member can be required to wear a mask on school grounds, according to the order. Local governments or officials attempting to impose a mask mandate can be subject to a fine of up to $1,000, beginning May 21, according to the news release.The order, however, exempts state-supported living centers, government-owned or operated hospitals, state department of justice facilities and county and municipal jails, according to the release.Read MoreThe governor's order comes less than a week after the US Centers for...
                        Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed bill SB 1884 Friday which bans local governments from imposing local gun regulations that are stricter than the state firearm laws. The measure stems from a 1987 preemption law in Florida that originally established a ban on local gun regulations which was then strengthened in 2011 to establish harsher punishments for violating the law. The 2011 law includes a punishment that involves local governments paying up to $100,000 in damages if they are prosecuted for establishing gun regulations, while local officials could pay up $5,000 in fines or even forced out of office. The recent signing of SB 1884 broadens the 2011 law by extending the punishment to include “unwritten” policies by local governments that violate the 1987 preemption. It also broadens the law by requiring local governments to pay for court fees and damages for lawsuits filed against a local gun regulation before the local government changes their policy to align with the preemption. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Republican state Representative...
    TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – Gov. Ron DeSantis is taking on flooding issues for coastal communities with hurricane season just weeks away. The governor stopped into Tarpon Springs Wednesday where he signed a bill establishing a funding program that will provide grants to communities impacted by floods. “This will help fund local resiliency programs across the state. Local governments and local communities understand the impact that flooding has on their communities,” he said. “This new grant will allow the state to partner with local governments in our shared mission to address coastal resiliency and protect our coastal communities’ infrastructure and residents.” Gov. DeSantis said the bill, SB 1954, will be administered by the Department of Environmental Protection to fund $100 million worth of infrastructure projects every year.
    Editor’s note: We endeavor to bring you the top voices on current events representing a range of perspectives. Below is a column arguing that coronavirus restrictions should be lifted immediately. You can find a counterpoint here, where Dr. Anthony Harris argues that we should lift restrictions gradually. After 14 months of ever-evolving COVID-19-related government restrictions, it is time for a full return to our pre-pandemic legal norms. With widely available COVID-19 vaccines, improved treatments and manageable hospitalization rates, there is no longer anything approaching compelling public health justifications for state and local officials to prevent Americans from socializing, engaging in commerce, and most importantly, properly educating our children. While the politicization of the virus may have been somewhat predictable during the hard-fought 2020 election cycle, it has left an ideological gulf in our perception of COVID-19 risks and our thoughts about how to deal with them. On the left, many have exaggerated ideas of how likely the coronavirus is to result in hospitalization and have adopted an ideology of “safetyism” under which the government is expected to drive down infection risks...
    President Joe Biden's administration on Monday launched its $350 billion program to distribute aid to state and local governments - with some conditions. The rules are designed to see that the funds go toward coronavirus relief and were part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that Biden signed into law in March. The guidelines released by the Treasury Department on Monday offer a suggestion list for the funds uses - including rehiring workers and supporting industries hit hard by COVID-19.  But they also have a laundry list of what the money can't be used for - such as to pay for tax cuts, which has brought lawsuits from some Republican state officials.   State and local governments also can't use the money to fund debt payments, legal settlements, or deposits to rainy-day funds or financial reserves, according to a fact sheet released from the Treasury Department. Of the $350 billion total, state governments and the District of Columbia will receive $195.3 billion, counties will receive $65.1 billion, cities will receive $45.6 billion and tribal governments and territories will receive $24.5 billion.  ...
    Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Friday that further banned local governments from imposing gun restrictions. The bill, SB 1884, will expand an earlier law that can force local governments to pay up to $100,000 in damages if they are sued for imposing gun regulations. The bill is set to take effect July 1. The legislation was passed by the Republican-controlled legislature in April. Florida has banned local governments from passing regulations that are stricter than state laws regarding firearms since 1987. The law was strengthened in 2011 and the First District Court of Appeal upheld the law in April, reversing an earlier court’s ruling. Local officials challenged the law after the Parkland School Shooting that left 17 dead, but were unsuccessful. Attorneys for the local governments have since filed a motion requesting the Supreme Court be sent the key issues in the case, according to Click Orlando. (RELATED: Texas Senate Passes Bill To Allow The Carrying Of Handguns Without A License) MIAMI, FLORIDA – APRIL 08: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to the media about the cruise industry...
    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisACLU sues Florida over law targeting ballot initiatives Montana governor approves restrictions on transgender athletes in schools Advocates sound alarm as restrictive voting laws pile up MORE signed a bill on Friday that bans local governments from imposing gun regulations. The bill expands a 2011 law that allows citizens or gun groups to sue local governments for enacting gun restrictions, and demand up to $100,000 in damages, according to the Florida Sun-Sentinel. The bill, which takes effect July 1, expands the 2011 law in two ways, according to the newspaper: it will allow legal action for “unwritten” local policies that go against the regulation preemption, and it allows for local governments to still be forced to pay damages and attorney fees even if they alter their gun-related policies after the lawsuits are filed. The Florida Senate passed the legislation by a 24-16 vote on April 26. Two days later, the bill cleared the state House in a 78-39 vote. A Florida House sponsor of the bill, Rep. Cord Byrd (R), said during a floor debate in April that...
    The White House unveiled plans Monday to provide federal funding to state and local governments attempting to build their economies in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The $350 billion that will be paid out is part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan and provides emergency funding intended to fill revenue shortfalls and support communities that have suffered ill economic effects, the administration said on Monday. A senior administration official said that the funds will begin being disbursed in the coming days and that states, local governments, municipalities, and tribal governments will be able to request funding through a Treasury Department portal. “With this funding, communities hit hard by COVID-19 will [be] able to return to a semblance of normalcy; they’ll be able to rehire teachers, firefighters, and other essential workers — and to help small businesses reopen safely,” said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. BIDEN TESTING DEMOCRATIC APPETITE FOR TAXING THE WEALTHY WITH CAPITAL GAINS PROPOSAL The White House is touting the aid as “flexible” and in a news release said it...
    President Biden is expected to deliver an address Monday focusing on the U.S. economy after a jobs report reflecting hiring around the country in April fell far short of expectations. It comes as the Treasury Department on Monday announced the launch of the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Funds to distribute $350 billion in state and local aid under the American Rescue Plan, a move the administration argues will not only help governments respond to the pandemic but will also bring back jobs.  A White House official said Mr. Biden will address the funding to state and local governments. He will also address assistance to employers to rehire and retain workers, announce additional steps to get Americans back into the workforce, highlight assistance to child care providers that have been impacted by the pandemic, as well as reaffirm the rules of unemployment insurance benefits.How to watch President Biden's remarks What: President Biden delivers remarks on the economy When: Monday, May 10 Time: 1:15 p.m. ET Location: The White House Online stream: Live on CBSN in...
    TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — Amid a legal battle that could be decided by the Florida Supreme Court, Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a measure that will ratchet up a ban on local gun regulations. DeSantis signed the bill (SB 1884) on Friday after the Republican-controlled Legislature passed it in party-line votes late last month. The bill, which will take effect July 1, will broaden a 2011 law that can make local governments pay as much as $100,000 in damages if they are sued for imposing gun regulations. READ MORE: Embattled Broward Schools Supt. Robert Runcie Agrees To $80K Termination Agreement, Legal Fees Florida since 1987 has barred cities and counties from passing regulations that are stricter than state firearms laws, and the penalties in the 2011 law were designed to strengthen that “preemption.” Rep. Cord Byrd, a Neptune Beach Republican who was the House sponsor of the bill signed Friday, said during an April 28 floor debate that the measure is needed to protect Second Amendment rights. He said the bill is designed to “send a message” to local governments. “I...
                        Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp this week signed House Bill 286, which prohibits local governments in Georgia from defunding the police. Georgia State Rep. Houston Gaines (R-Athens) sponsored the legislation. According to an emailed press release, Kemp signed the legislation just outside of Athens. Athens city officials, along with those in Atlanta, recently considered proposals to slash local police budgets. Georgia is now one of the only states in the nation with a law explicitly protecting law enforcement officers when local officials want to defund them, the press release said. “Over the last year, we’ve seen radical calls to defund the police in cities across the nation. In cities like Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and Portland — where local governments have slashed police budgets, [and] crime has skyrocketed. Now those cities are working to restore that funding, and I’m glad to see them come to their senses — but it’s too late for the crimes that have been committed, the damage that has been done to those communities, and the lives lost,” Gaines said at...
    Loading the player... Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has signed a law aimed at blocking “defund the police” efforts in larger Georgia cities and counties, saying it’s unfair to “condemn and demonize” police officers. “This far-left movement will endanger our communities and our law enforcement officers and leave our most vulnerable at risk,” the Republican Kemp said Friday while speaking at the Barrow County Sheriff’s Office gun range in Bethlehem, flanked by a number of sheriffs and police chiefs. The law would limit governments’ ability to cut police funding by more than 5% a year after Atlanta and Athens-Clarke County officials debated but rejected plans to cut or redirect spending following racial injustice protests last year. The murder of George Floyd, a Black man killed in police custody in Minneapolis last year, launched demonstrations that were also fueled by the death of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images) The measure is a rejection of arguments by protesters nationwide that minority communities are suffering from overpolicing. The critics argue that governments should spend less on law...
    The Indiana General Assembly passed a bill recently that will prevent the state and also local governments from issuing vaccine passports for COVID-19. “I’m thrilled that this language is in this bill,” said Rep. John Jacob, R-Indianapolis, saying that the state mandating that people get an experimental vaccine would be a “gross violation of the individual freedom of Hoosiers.” The bill, HB 1405, passed out of the House by a vote for 88-10, with even the House Democratic leader, Rep. Phil GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne, supporting it. But the last-minute insertion of the language on vaccine passports was not exactly what some lawmakers and others were hoping for, and gunning for. “This is weak and hardly anything,” said Ashley Grogg, a registered nurse in Fort Wayne who founded the group Hoosiers for Medical Liberty. “I would have liked to have seen a lot more protections for our constituents and we will push for that again next year.” What the bill says is that neither the state nor any local government in the state can issue or...
    Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak is retreating from his plan to introduce legislation that would have allowed tech companies to form local governments within the state. Per The Nevada Independent, the governor now instead plans to create a bipartisan committee made up of state Senate and Assembly members to study the idea. At the end of 2021, the group will present recommendations to Sisolak, with one possible outcome being that they suggest he abandon the proposal. “Innovation Zones is a bold proposal for our State that deserves additional attention and discussion — and not under the pressure of less than 40 remaining days in the current legislative session,” Governor Sisolak said in a statement. “I know that legislators, stakeholders and Nevadans still have questions, and I want those questions to be discussed and answered. I want people to be enthusiastic about this opportunity, not skeptical about a fast-tracked bill.” Governor Sisolak first floated the idea during one of his State of the State addresses earlier in the year. He positioned Innovation Zones as a way for Nevada to attract tech...
    The Tennessee House of Representatives passed a bill banning state and local governments from requiring COVID-19 vaccines. The legislation, House Bill 13,  states that “a law enforcement agency or governmental entity of this state or a local government, or the governor or chief executive of a local government by executive order, shall not force, require, or coerce a person to receive an immunization or vaccination for COVID-19 against the person's will,” according to the bill’s text. The bill was passed by a 72-19 vote, and it now heads to the Senate. The measure would take effect immediately upon the governor’s signing. The bill comes after the Tennessee Senate passed legislation last week banning “vaccine passports” requiring someone to show proof that they have received the COVID-19 vaccine. Gov. Bill Lee (R) has said he opposed vaccine passports, and supported the legislation banning them. However, it’s unclear if Lee would sign HB 13. According to WZTV in Nashville, the governor has stressed that getting the vaccine is a personal choice. Lee was vaccinated in late...
    Charter captains, biologists, poets and local elected officials were among dozens of Key West residents who boarded a 3 a.m. flight to Tallahassee to get their 2 minutes to testify Wednesday against a bill that would preempt local governments from regulating ports. But it didn’t matter and the 20 Key West residents who testified against the bill were dismissed by the bill’s sponsor, who implied they don’t represent the rank-and-file of Key West. “You heard a lot of passionate testimony today from the side that could get up here," said Sen. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, “but the side that couldn’t get up here that’s down there struggling to make ends meet are who you didn’t hear from.” And with that, the Senate Rules Committee approved Senate Bill 426 in a partisan 12-5 vote and sent it to the chamber floor for adoption. SB 426 would prohibit local ballot initiatives from restricting seaport activity and preempts local governments from adopting regulations affecting port operations in any area of “critical state concern.” The bill is in response to...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz says he will not be mandating an extension of the curfew that was put in place Monday following the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright. On Tuesday morning, Walz says that the state will not be mandating a curfew, but local governments can make that call on their own. The curfew was put in place in the Twin Cities area Monday at 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. Tuesday. READ MORE: MN Providers Advised To Pause Distribution Of Jonson & Johnson Vaccine Until Review Of Rare Blood Clot Cases NEWS: Gov. Tim Walz says there won’t be a state mandated extension of the curfews tonight in Twin Cities area, but says that local governments can still make their own calls @wcco pic.twitter.com/usPC2OdYW0 — Caroline Cummings (@CaroRCummings) April 13, 2021 READ MORE: Derek Chauvin Trial, April 13 Live Updates: The State Rests Its Case; Defense Begins To Call Witnesses Authorities say 40 people were arrested overnight in the Twin Cities for breaking curfew, fighting with police and attempted burglary during the second...
    The cryptocurrency boom has led some local governments eager to cash in on the speculative asset's boom. While Bitcoin has been around since 2009, the latest Q1 2021 report from cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase posted $1.8 billion in revenue for the year so far, more than it brought for all of 2020. The mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez, recently spoke publicly about his interest in Bitcoin during several interviews in which he detailed his vision to make it part of the city's economic future, including petitioning for the state of Florida to allow a portion of Miami's treasury funds to invest in Bitcoin. "I've been a crypto guy since the beginning. I believe in the sort of the underpinnings of it, the mathematics behind it, I'm fascinated by the way that it came about," Suarez told Charlie Shrem, host of the Untold Stories podcast in February. IS BITCOIN HERE TO STAY? HOW CRYPTOCURRENCY COULD TRANSFORM OVER NEXT DECADE Miami City Hall commissioners voted in February at the request of Suarez to commence studies on the use of cryptocurrency for city services....
    TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – In a win for Republican lawmakers and the National Rifle Association, an appeals court Friday upheld a 2011 state law that threatens tough penalties if city and county officials approve gun-related regulations. A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal rejected a challenge to the NRA-backed law by 30 cities, three counties and more than 70 local officials. READ MORE: Help Is On The Way: Gov. Ron DeSantis Files Lawsuit Against Feds, CDC To Reopen Cruise Ship Industry A Leon County circuit judge in 2019 found that parts of the law were unconstitutional, spurring Attorney General Ashley Moody and Gov. Ron DeSantis to appeal. Florida since 1987 has barred cities and counties from passing regulations that are stricter than state firearms laws, and the penalties in the 2011 law were designed to strengthen that “preemption.” The law, for example, could lead to local officials facing $5,000 fines and potential removal from office for passing gun regulations. Local governments and officials filed three lawsuits challenging the 2011 law after the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory...
                        The General Assembly passed a bill to limit local government efforts to impose stricter regulations and oversight on Thursday. State Representative Kevin Vaughan (R-Collierville) and State Senator Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) were sponsors on the legislation. The legislation would prohibit local governments from accessing the personal information of employees, imposing additional safety laws beyond state and federal standards, and entering job sites without permission. The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Greater Tennessee Chapter President and CEO, Clay Crownover, explained in an emailed statement to The Tennessee Star that the threat of increased regulations and oversight from local government would’ve hurt small businesses and workers. “Too often, local governments get it wrong when it comes to their efforts to change construction industry standards,” stated Crownover. “This legislation will ultimately protect local workers and businesses by preventing local governments from overreaching beyond state and federal law when it comes to enforcing construction industry standards.” Additionally, Crownover asserted that employee privacy would’ve been at risk if not for the legislation’s passage. “It is of...
    New York has the highest tax burden in the country, according to a new analysis. The Empire State’s property tax burden and individual income taxes ranks first and total sales and excise tax at 22nd according to personal finance website WalletHub’s 2021’s Tax Burden by State report. WalletHub compared the states in property taxes, sales and excise taxes and individual income taxes as a share of a total personal income in the state. WebHub financial writer Adam McCann said in the report a tax burden measures the proportion of personal income that residents pay toward state and local taxes, unlike tax rates, which vary based on an individual’s circumstances. Tax burdens aren’t uniform across the United States. “Since the tax code is so complicated and has rules based on individual household characteristics, it’s hard for the average person to tell how they will be impacted,” McCann said. The relationship between state tax burden and economic growth depends on the type of tax and other economic conditions, according to Annette Nellen CPA, Esq. and professor at San Jose State University. “For...
    Georgia lawmakers have passed legislation that places limits on the amount by which local governments can cut police department budgets, with the bill’s lead sponsor arguing Friday that "defund the police" efforts are putting communities and families in danger. The Georgia General Assembly on Wednesday passed House Bill 286, which was spearheaded by State Rep. Houston Gaines, a Republican representing Athens, and will bar local governments from cutting police department budgets beyond a certain percentage. The bill passed by a 100 to 73 vote and is now awaiting Gov. Brian Kemp’s signature or veto. The law would take effect on July 1 if signed by Kemp, a Republican. "Then we would have something on the books in Georgia to make sure that local governments, that they’re not able to defund the police," Gaines told Fox News on Friday. "I support local control, but when you have local governments that are out of control and they’re putting their communities and families in those communities at risk, that’s where I believe we have to step in."   ATLANTA MAYOR BACKS MLB DECISION TO MOVE ALL-STAR...
    New Hampshire ranks first out of the 50 states when it comes to taxpayer rate of return, according to a new analysis. The Granite State is 36th most dependent on those taxes and 9th in overall government services, according to personal finance website WalletHub’s Best & Worst Taxpayer Return on Investment for 2021 report. WalletHub compared the 50 states across the areas of health, safety, education, economy and infrastructure and pollution. New Hampshire has had to struggle as other states with the COVID-19 pandemic, relying on federal and state aid to mitigate its impact. But relying on more stable revenue sources like property taxes, instead of sales and income taxes help minimize revenue shocks, said John Kovari, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse associate professor. WalletHub reached out to Kovari and other financial experts asking a series of questions as to how consumers can measure the efficiency of how their money is used. “There are of course many highly personal reasons for people choosing to locate where they live and work, and there’s a variety of...
    (CNN)The Department of Homeland Security is working on a proposal for a "cyber response and recovery fund" to provide additional cybersecurity assistance to state and local governments through the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Wednesday. Mayorkas made the announcement during a speech outlining his vision for the department's cybersecurity effort. It's one of several steps the department is taking to ramp up its capabilities in the wake the SolarWinds supply chain hack that targeted the federal government and the Chinese-linked hack of Microsoft's Exchange email service."Our government got hacked last year, and we didn't know about it for months," he said of SolarWinds, pointing out the need for the federal government to modernize cybersecurity defenses and deepen partnerships with the private sector. DHS will soon launch an awareness campaign so that private companies are aware of the resources CISA offers. The department will also launch an "expanded cybersecurity grant program" to facilitate the use of CISA resources, Mayorkas said. Mayorkas praised CISA, saying it is best positioned to be the "tip of the spear...
    Pennsylvania ranks 26th out of the 50 states when it comes to taxpayer rate of return, according to a new analysis. The Keystone State is 24th in overall government services, according to personal finance website WalletHub’s Best & Worst Taxpayer Return on Investment for 2021 report. WalletHub compared the 50 states across the areas of health, safety, education, economy and infrastructure and pollution. “Local governments are funded differently in every state,” Dr. Jason Jolley of Ohio University said in the report. “Differences also exist between counties and cities. Some rely on local income tax and other states prohibit or limit local income taxes. Federal government assistance to state and local governments is critical until the economy begins to recover.” Jolley said public welfare – especially Medicaid – and education usually comprise the largest percentages of state and local spending, he said. As local governments are receiving fewer dollars from state governments in the post-Great Recession era, they need to raise revenue in other ways to deliver the same level of service. He encouraged citizens...
    A House bill that would allow local Florida governments to direct some tourist tax revenues into flood control and mitigation projects has advanced through its first hearing despite a rising tide of objections from state hoteliers. “The tourism industry, the only way they would support this bill is if it were dead. Let’s be honest,” Rep. Bryan Avila, R-Miami Springs, told the House Ways & Means Committee Monday. “So,” he continued, “they will constantly advocate that this is not the right course of action. But in reality, this might turn out to be their saving grace.” Avila and Rep. Ralph Massullo, R-Lecantro, are co-sponsors of House Bill 1429, which passed through the panel Monday in a 17-0 vote, placing it one hearing before the Senate Rules Committee from reaching the chamber floor. HB 1429’s Senate companion, Senate Bill 2008, sponsored Sen. Manny Diaz, R-Hialeah, has not thus far been heard during the session, which convened March 2 and adjourns April 30. Under state law, cities and counties are allowed to collect TDDs, or “bed taxes,” on such things as hotel...
    After a long fight over a referendum that would have repealed Nashville’s 34% property tax increase last year, two Tennessee lawmakers have filed legislation aimed at providing more accountability for local governments considering raising property taxes. House Bill 1315 is sponsored by two Franklin Republicans, Rep. Brandon Ogles and Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson, and directs Tennessee’s Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) to conduct a study on the use of a voter referendum to approve significant tax increases. The bill comes months after an unsuccessful effort in Davidson County to repeal by referendum a 34% property tax increase approved by Nashville’s Metro Council. After more than 20,000 voter signatures petitioning for a referendum that could have repealed the tax hike were certified by the Metro clerk, Davidson County election commissioners asked a judge whether a special election was required. Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle ruled the proposed amendment to the Metro Charter was not constitutional, and no referendum election occurred. Nashville attorney Jim Roberts, who coordinated the referendum effort last year, is collecting signatures to try again...
    Historic civil settlement for George Floyds family brings turmoil to Derek Chauvins criminal trial Serial stowaway who’s sneaked aboard 20 flights arrested again in Chicago © Provided by Business Insider A student in New York City throws a snowball during a snow storm in Times Square. Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images The recently passed $1.9 trillion stimulus plan contains $350 billion in state and local aid. That includes $5.6 billion for New York City, which has been seeking federal aid. Many local governments have warned of drastic budget cuts absent funding from the federal government. See more stories on Insider's business page. An ominous question lingered over much of 2020 and early 2021: What will happen to all the cities and states facing huge revenue shortfalls from the coronavirus recession? Load Error Most famously, some commentators have gone so far as to say 2020 killed New York City, a metropolis in which interpersonal contact is a fact and a way of life. Some Wall Street executives voted with their feet late in the year, moving to Florida along...
    Like most states, Arizona hasn't fared as poorly as it expected when the COVID-19 pandemic had begun. Despite what’s now a $351 million budget surplus, the state is in line to receive more than $4 billion from the recently enacted federal COVID-19 relief plan. That’s the estimation from Arizona’s Joint Legislative Budget Committee, a nonpartisan body. The American Recovery Plan Act of 2021, the third COVID-19 relief bill enacted since the pandemic began, sends states, local governments and tribal governments a share of $350 billion. The JLBC estimated Mar. 9 that Arizona state and local governments would receive $7.48 billion that could be spent anytime before the end of 2024. It would allocate more capital spending and business assistance. In its analysis, the committee said the funds “may be used to respond to COVID-19 or its negative economic impacts, premium pay to essential workers (up to $13/hour, maximum of $25,000 per worker), lost revenues, and water/sewer/broadband infrastructure.” The state cannot use the funds to directly reduce taxes or indirectly make payments to pension funds. The...
    New York : Unemployment in 2020 was the basis for the calculation. Photo: Andrés Correa Guatarasma / Courtesy The massive $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package that President Joe Biden signed into law on Thursday includes hundreds of billions in funding for regional governments. California, Texas and New York will be the three most benefited states, adding up to 25% of the national total. In the case of California and Texas, it is not surprising, since being the two most populous in the country, they have been assigned the largest amounts: $ 42.3 billion and $ 27.3 billion, respectively. New York managed to sneak in in 3rd place in terms of amount ($ 23.5 billion), although it is not the 3rd most populous state in the country, but Florida, to which they assigned much less ($ 17.3 billion). Why? The answer is that more money will be given to states that had a highest number of unemployed at the end of 2020 rather than considering the size of the general population. This has upset some...
    Mitch McConnell has warned that Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package is a 'multitrillion-dollar Trojan Horse' - insisting that it was not needed, as the economy was going to 'roar back' later in the year regardless. McConnell, the leader of Republicans in the Senate, addressed his colleagues on Thursday and told of his concerns. Speaking on the eve of the anniversary of COVID being declared a global pandemic, McConnell accused Democrats of wanting 'to sprint in front of the parade and claim credit' for this year's likely economic comeback. 'This wasn't a bill to finish off the pandemic, it was a multitrillion-dollar Trojan horse full of bad old liberal ideas,' the Minority Leader said. Mitch McConnell, seen in the Senate on Thursday, spoke out against the $1.9 trillion COVID bill McConnell argued that the economy was poised to come 'roaring back', without the bill 'President Biden's own staff keep calling this legislation quote 'the most progressive bill in American history.' Hardly the commonsense bipartisanship that the president promised.' The bill passed the Senate on Saturday,...
    The federal government is poised to send nearly $10.2 billion to the state government and local governments across New Jersey as part of the COVID-19 relief package. The money is from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which includes $360 billion in state and local aid. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the measure Wednesday, and President Joe Biden plans to sign the bill Friday, according to news reports. “Our state and local governments have been on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19,” U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey, said in a statement. “They have been bleeding resources for over a year while costs have soared and revenues have plummeted. As a result, they have borne the brunt of the economic pain and desperately need help.” Under the bill, the state will receive $6.4 billion, plus $189 million allocated to expand broadband internet. Meanwhile, the state’s 21 county governments will receive more than $1.8 billion, while 565 cities and municipalities in the Garden State will take in $1.7 billion. Governments can use the money to...
    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Democratic U.S. Sen Joe Manchin told West Virginia officials the new federal stimulus package will include $677 million in funding to local governments in the state. The money is broken up into $176 million for metropolitan cities, $153 million for smaller cities and $348 million for the state's 55 counties. The state government separately will receive $1.25 billion. Manchin said local officials can use funding to pay expenses related to the pandemic, including covering lost revenue and investments in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure. Half of the funds will be distributed within 60 days of the legislation being signed by the president, while the second half will go out one year later. “For the first time in as long as I can remember, local governments have the flexibility to use these funds to fix and upgrade sewer, water and broadband infrastructure without all of the bureaucratic red tape,” Manchin said. Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Tags: West Virginia, Associated PressRelated ArticlesBest StatesIdaho’s Economy Gets...
    Florida’s Legislature is cranking up the “preemption train” again with a bevy of Republican-sponsored bills seeking to dilute local authority, including proposals to prohibit cities and counties from regulating vacation rentals and seaports. The Senate Regulated Industries Committee advanced two more preemption measures Tuesday, including one that would ban local governments from regulating “energy infrastructure,” including production and distribution of electricity, natural gas and petroleum products. Senate Bill 856, sponsored by Sen. Travis Hutson, R-St. Augustine, was approved 7-2 and moves onto the Senate Community Affairs and Rules committees for hearings before reaching the Senate floor. Its House companion, House Bill 839, filed by Rep. Tom Fabrico, R-Miramar, makes its debut hearing Wednesday before the House Appropriations Tourism, Infrastructure & Energy Subcommittee. It, too, must pass through three committees to secure a chamber floor vote. HB 839 (2021) - State Preemption of Energy Infrastructure Regulation | F... If Tuesday’s Senate panel hearing is indicative, the bills will be heatedly opposed to the bitter end of the 60-day session, which began last week. “This...
    The mayor of a Texas border town said Tuesday that President Biden's immigration policies could turn into a "humanitarian crisis," asserting his community needs help from the federal government to deal with immigrants traveling through the area. On "America's Newsroom," Harlingen, Texas Mayor Chris Boswell said the situation could become "dangerous" if resources are not available for migrants, particularly unaccompanied minors.  Despite immigration policy falling under the jurisdiction of the federal government, Boswell said the "burden" of rising immigration numbers trickles down to the local government, which oftentimes lacks the capital or accommodations necessary.  BIDEN ADMINISTRATION NEEDS TO ACKNOWLEDGE BORDER 'CRISIS,' FORMER TRUMP AND OBAMA IMMIGRATION OFFICIAL WARNS CHRIS BOSWELL: "It certainly can turn into a humanitarian crisis. We've seen this before a few years ago. When the unaccompanied minors, in particular, come to our communities, they don't have any place to go ... we have shelters that have been operating in our communities, including Harlingen for a number of years. These traditional shelters operate well and safely for unaccompanied minors. When there is such an influx it really can be a dangerous situation ... These are decisions made...
    MILWAUKEE (AP) — A Wisconsin court has dismissed a lawsuit alleging that Foxconn Technology Group violated terms of its contract by failing to build a manufacturing plant in southeast Wisconsin. The suit brought last month by Caledonia resident Daniel Hintz and Hintz Real Estate Development Co. said Foxconn promised to construct a Generation 10.5 LCD manufacturing facility while local governments spent hundreds of millions of dollars to prepare for the project. Foxconn did not employ local workers in manufacturing and construction “to the extent agreed” and failed to make capital investments in the county and village “to the extent agreed,” the lawsuit filed in Racine County Circuit Court said. The suit was dismissed Friday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Wisconsin landed plans for Foxconn’s first American factory after then-Gov. Scott Walker offered more than $3 billion in tax incentives, but the company’s plans were later scaled back. The original plan was for Foxconn to build a Gen 10. 5 LCD facility, capable of building large screens, but the project was scaled back to a Gen. 6 facility. The lawsuit was...
    MILWAUKEE (AP) — A Wisconsin court has dismissed a lawsuit alleging that Foxconn Technology Group violated terms of its contract by failing to build a manufacturing plant in southeast Wisconsin. The suit brought last month by Caledonia resident Daniel Hintz and Hintz Real Estate Development Co. said Foxconn promised to construct a Generation 10.5 LCD manufacturing facility while local governments spent hundreds of millions of dollars to prepare for the project. Foxconn did not employ local workers in manufacturing and construction “to the extent agreed” and failed to make capital investments in the county and village “to the extent agreed,” the lawsuit filed in Racine County Circuit Court said. The suit was dismissed Friday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Wisconsin landed plans for Foxconn’s first American factory after then-Gov. Scott Walker offered more than $3 billion in tax incentives, but the company’s plans were later scaled back. The original plan was for Foxconn to build a Gen 10. 5 LCD facility, capable of building large screens, but the project was scaled back to a Gen. 6 facility. The lawsuit was...
    (CNN)When the coronavirus pandemic was declared nearly a year ago, the future for state and local government finances looked grim. Millions of people had lost their jobs, the stock market tanked and governors ordered nonessential businesses to close -- all of which threatened to pummel many of the tax revenue streams states and municipalities rely on. Heres whats in the Senate stimulus planNow, the picture appears rosier than many states and localities had feared. State tax revenues, on average, have not fallen as much as initially predicted, and several economic forecasters have ratcheted down their estimates of budget shortfalls. The situation, however, varies widely, with states dependent on tourism or oil -- like Alaska, Hawaii, North Dakota and Nevada -- faring worst.Congress is nevertheless poised to provide state and local governments with the largest injection of direct pandemic assistance to date as part of President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package. Now that Democrats are in control of the White House and Capitol Hill, they are ready to send $350 billion to states and municipalities -- with fewer of the...
    With the U.S. Senate preparing to take up a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, the Illinois Municipal League wants local governments, not the governor, to control dollars local governments are meant to get. City officials across Illinois have either passed annual budgets or are in the process of approving how they’ll spend tax dollars. Some of that spending is based on how much Local Government Distributive Fund dollars will be released by the state. Illinois Municipal League Executive Director Brad Cole said LGDF is important because it's the local governments’ share of income tax dollars the state collects. The governor’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1 continues cuts from previous years. “All when more and more state mandates and unfunded mandates are being placed on local governments,” Cole said. “So it’s the local share of state income tax, and it’s been reduced, and reduced and reduced, and this proposal takes us to about half of where we were originally and it’s a 10% cut from this current year.” Cole said local governments...
    By CURT ANDERSON, Associated Press ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Low-lying Florida, surrounded by the sea, is one of the most vulnerable U.S. states to ocean level rise driven by climate change. State Republican legislative leaders on Friday announced a $100 million-a-year plan to tackle the issue. House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, said at a news conference that measures in the upcoming session of the Legislature would address flooding and sea level rise. “With sea level rise, we are seeing that risk grow exponentially, from storm surge and tidal flooding to groundwater and flash flooding. The impacts are devastating,” Sprowls said. “This is something that members of both chambers and both parties can agree on,” said Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg. “It is irresponsible for us to sit and do nothing.” Several bills are being introduced for the legislative session, which begins Tuesday in Tallahassee. They include: — $100 million a year from 2022-23 to deal with sea level rise and flooding. This plan will be updated by the state Department of Environmental Protection. — A grant program providing...
    MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — Former Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has agreed to reimburse the county and the City of Miami a total of $5.5 million for the cost of building Marlins Park. The Miami-Dade County Commission approved the final lawsuit settlement after Loria agreed to a last-minute increase in the amount. A tentative settlement of $4.2 million was reached last month. RELATED: Curry Helps Warriors Rally Past Heat In OT The payment stems from the $1.2 billion sale of the team by Loria in 2017 to Derek Jeter and his ownership group. Loria bought the Marlins for $158.5 million in 2002. In 2009, local government agreed to help pay to build Marlins Park in exchange for Loria’s pledge to share profits if he later sold the team. That agreement called for Loria to pay 5% of net proceeds from the sale of the team. RELATED: Huberdeau Scores In OT, Lifts Panthers Past Hurricanes 4-3 Public money covered more than three-fourths of the $634 million cost for Marlins Park, which opened in 2012. The settlement follows months of negotiations. The...
    President Joe Biden’s revocation of President Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13888 requiring state and local consultation prior to the resettlement of refugees in any community may be an indication his administration plans to ignore a key requirement of The Refugee Act of 1980. Federal courts currently seem unlikely to side with critics of the refugee resettlement program who have long argued that the Refugee Act of 1980 requires state and local consultation prior to the resettlement of refugees in a community. The Refugee Act of 1980 states: Section 301 (c) (1) In the conduct of the Coordinator’s duties, the Coordinator [of Refugee Affairs, as named by the president] shall consult regularly with States, localities, and private nonprofit voluntary agencies concerning the sponsorship process and the intended distribution of refugees. Section 412 (a) (2) The Director [of the Office of Refugee Resettlement], together with the Coordinator, shall consult regularly with State and local governments and private nonprofit voluntary agencies concerning the sponsorship process and the intended distribution of refugees among the States and localities. (emphasis added) In 2020, a federal district...
    By JEFF AMY, Associated Press ATLANTA (AP) — A Republican-backed bill advancing in the Georgia House would block “defund the police” movements in cities and counties, after Atlanta and Athens debated plans to cut or redirect spending following racial injustice protests last year. The measure is a response to arguments by protesters nationwide that minority communities are suffering from overpolicing and that governments should spend less on law enforcement and more on social service workers who could help address problems, but without guns and arrest powers. House Bill 286 says cities and counties can't cut spending on their police departments by more than 5% a year. The House Governmental Affairs General Government Subcommittee on Tuesday approved it on a split voice vote, sending it forward to the full committee for more debate. “We all recognize that supporting law enforcement is of the utmost importance, and in my opinion, the most important role that our local governments have,” said the bill's Republican sponsor, Rep. Houston Gaines of Athens. Similar bills have been offered in Arizona, Iowa, North Carolina and Florida, among...
    By JOSH BOAK and KEVIN FREKING, The Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden met with a bipartisan group of governors and mayors at the White House on Friday as part of his push to give financial relief from the coronavirus pandemic to state and local governments — a clear source of division with Republican lawmakers who view the spending as wasteful. As part of a $1.9 trillion coronavirus package, Biden wants to send $350 billion to state and local governments and tribal governments. While Republicans in Congress have largely objected to this initiative, Biden's push has some GOP support among governors and mayors. “You folks are all on the front lines and dealing with the crisis since day one,” Biden said at the start of the Oval Office meeting. “They’ve been working on their own in many cases.” Republican lawmakers have stressed that some past aid to state and local governments remains unspent and revenues have rebounded after slumping when the coronavirus first hit. But state governments have shed 332,000 jobs since the outbreak began to spread last...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden met with a bipartisan group of governors and mayors at the White House on Friday as part of his push to give financial relief from the coronavirus pandemic to state and local governments — a clear source of division with Republican lawmakers who view the spending as wasteful. As part of a $1.9 trillion coronavirus package, Biden wants to send $350 billion to state and local governments and tribal governments. While Republicans in Congress have largely objected to this initiative, Biden’s push has some GOP support among governors and mayors. “You folks are all on the front lines and dealing with the crisis since day one,” Biden said at the start of the Oval Office meeting. “They’ve been working on their own in many cases.” Republican lawmakers have stressed that some past aid to state and local governments remains unspent and revenues have rebounded after slumping when the coronavirus first hit. But state governments have shed 332,000 jobs since the outbreak began to spread last February, and local governments have cut nearly 1 million...