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CalMatters is a nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters.

During the pandemic, the challenge for the department wasn’t just dealing with the surge of claims; it also had to implement new federal aid programs.
Secretary of State Shirley Weber said the prior vendor contracts were canceled and her office is now working with the California Department of Technology, using its project management system.
In this excerpt from a deep dive into COVID-19 relief funding, CalMatters examines where oversight and accountability could be improved.
Since 1965, the state of California has maintained a list of adults who are credibly believed to have abused children. But according to a new report by the state auditor’s office, the database is completely unreliable.
Officials with California’s 116-campus community college system say they are seeing a spike in cyberattacks since the pandemic, which they suspect is because the scammers are targeting federal COVID-19 relief grants along with traditional financial aid.
Both the bank and the state rake in merchant fees whenever an unemployment debit card is swiped. EDD has pocketed millions in fees amid the pandemic, but Bank of America told state lawmakers it lost hundreds of millions of dollars on the contract last year.
Joy Sterling of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture urges state officials to “lock in the details for a ‘middle-mile’ broadband infrastructure plan” before Tuesday to secure billions in federal funding.
Limited communication, technical challenges and lack of transparency have resulted in delays for at least three counties, according to representatives.
California’s election cybersecurity approach shut down notable problems. But public records show that its seemingly scattershot approach also ensnared some people who say they were joking.
“Asking the major service providers to step up has failed, and California, as the fifth-largest economy in the world, should not have to run around, tin cup in hand, begging for broadband.”
The news from Monday's CPUC meeting comes a month after a state investigation found that the commission hired 17 of Alice Stebbins’ former co-workers — in some cases over more qualified candidates in appointments of “highly questionable legitimacy.”
Los Angeles and other California cities "want data that the police would need a warrant to get." Los Angeles has been taken to federal court on this exact issue, but a trial has yet to begin.
California’s electrical grid is getting cleaner, but it is still not well-positioned to deal with a changing climate with its web of decades-old poles and wires. Fortunately, a suite of established and emerging technologies can effectively advance the dual goals of reliability and decarbonization.
"As classes and student services are transitioned online, colleges are in need of a cohesive online infrastructure that supports students, faculty and staff. California needs to continue to invest in community colleges and students ... ."
"As elected officials focus on economic recovery, they should consider the tectonic shifts that have occurred over the last three months and assign greater value to policies that promote the good use of data along with appropriate considerations for personal privacy," writes Gary Mangiofico.
This report from CalMatters poses the question, "With contact tracing apps in the works, how much personal data are you willing to trade away for a return to life as it was before the pandemic?"
As the coronavirus social isolation net tightens, college professors and students face an unprecedented challenge. How do they continue teaching and learning when school buildings have closed?
Thanks to the novel coronavirus, California is about to embark on an enormous unplanned experiment in remote learning — and no one knows how long it will last. The first challenge is simple: making sure everyone can log on.
"Californians are free-spirited by nature. They want flexibility to support themselves and their families as they see fit. So why do the Democrats in the Legislature want them all to work for corporations?"
The Foundation for California's Technology and Innovation Economy asks for thousands of dollars for admission to its annual policy summit with lawmakers. Who's paying? It won't say.
For the past three decades, Internet service providers, and their predecessors, phone companies, have successfully waged a war to deregulate their industry. Regulation, they argue, will stifle innovation. That may have been true 30 years ago. But now, the only innovation we see is ISPs coming up with new ways to charge you more while delivering less.
"Mayors and other local leaders throughout California have banded together to publicly urge exploration of an alternative model: a customer-owned utility."
In the state’s new landscape of more frequent and more ferocious fires, it takes a village to combat the menace: private technology, state and local fire agencies and computing know-how at California’s universities.
The advocate, who drove creation of the California Consumer Privacy Act, said: “Now it is the time to push for even more rights for privacy.”
With state Senate approval, the bill regulating contractor employment is expected to clear the Assembly, and Gov. Gavin Newsom has signaled that he'll sign it. It includes postponements for newspapers, physical therapists and the timber industry, among others. It's important to the IT industry because it deals directly with independent contractors.
Most sellers of physical or digital information to libraries respect the primacy of user privacy. To maintain the community’s trust, library vendors must adhere to the same code of ethics librarians employ every day. At the moment, LinkedIn is violating that ethical code and the policies set forth by the American Library Association.
For years, the DMV has not charged a fee when customers use Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover to make online payments or at self-serve DMV kiosks. That's apparently about to change.
While the governor and his backers express confidence in the new Office of Digital Innovation, some observers remain skeptical as to what the office can actually accomplish, given entrenched bureaucracy.
The dynamic could force lawmakers to choose between constituents, who overwhelmingly feel they have lost control of how their personal information is collected and used, and business interests who argue that broad privacy protections could fundamentally damage the Internet economy.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles gave the public a series of piecemeal explanations as it acknowledged making more than 100,000 errors in recent months in registering Californians to vote. Software problems, it said in May. Human errors from toggling between computer windows, it said in September. Data entry mistakes that were corrected but never saved, it said this month.