Above the Fold 05.08.09

States play the roll of rebellious teenagers, know the federal gov’t still loves them…Virginia hacker gets more spotlight, Gov. gets more red…Controversy drives illegal drivers license law in Md….Wisconsin state employees happy to have avoided Govs’ ax…Mass. breaks open the piggy bank, gets federal funds to pay locals…New York 911 gets upgrade

The New York Times reports this morning on the trend of state legislators and governors asserting their rights as states…and then ask the federal government for help. The Times reports that more than thirty states had factions of state officials who wanted to “send Washington a blunt message: back off.” Legislators from Washington, Idaho, Oklahoma, Alaska, the Dakotas and the more vocal Texas Governor have voiced public disdain for federal “over reach” but in all cases, save for the latter, they’ve ended up taking money due to the harsh economy.

The breach of a prescription database last week is building steam in the media and in Richmond, the Hampton Roads Virginia-Pilot reports. Outside experts and commentators are calling the incident, covered by many a CivSource Above the Fold, a wake-up call. “If I were the state, I would be very concerned that their system has now been compromised,” says Rob Douglas, editor of the Web site IdentityTheft.info. The Governor Tim Kaine is urging everyone to stay calm as the FBI and state officials figure everything out – meanwhile, the Lynchburg & Advisor is looking for full disclosure in their latest editorial.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) yesterday signed into law contentious bills ranging from illegal immigration identification to the death penalty, the Washington Post reports. But you wouldn’t know that if you watched the annual ceremony where Gov. O’Malley praised the state’s “progress even in tough times,” but made no mention of the Real ID federal mandate that drove, pardon the pun, the illigal immigrant drivers license debate. Baltimore Sun coverage can be found by clicking here.

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle announced that he will have to lay off upto 1,100 employees, furloughing non-emergency workers eight days a year, rescind 2 percent pay raises and make new cuts in aid to schools and local government due to a $6.5 billion budget deficit, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. “We are facing tougher choices than ever about what level of state services we can sustain at a time when people need them most,” Doyle said. “I am fighting to protect the middle class, education, public safety and health care.” Reactions from the state employees union was one of restrained anger, focusing instead on the need to bring contracted work back in house.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced a proposal to use an additional $461 million from the state’s “rainy day account” to close the state’s latest budget gap, the Boston Globe reports. The rainy day account started the fiscal year at $2.1 billion, now down to $800 million. Also part of the Gov.’s plans is to use $412 million in federal stimulus money to make a scheduled payment to cities and towns for local aid. “We have done our best to implement reforms, cut costs, and protect the core services of government that people rely on more than ever in times like these,” Patrick said in a statement. “There are no easy or pleasant options.”

Government Technology reported yesterday that New York City is getting upgrades to its emergency 911 system. “With unified call taking, we are able to have the police call taker input information directly into the fire dispatch system,” said city spokesman Jason Post. The upgrade is the first of a phased program to modernize the city’s 911 centers, Mayor Bloomberg said. The next phase will move all emergency call takers into one central location.

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