government

Isabella Cueto / WLRN News

More than 500 Latin American officials gathered downtown this week for the annual Inter-American Conference of Mayors and Local Authorities.

 

The conference, which is hosted at the Hilton Downtown, includes panels and workshops about how to create sustainable development in Latin American municipalities by decentralizing government.

 

The ransomware attack on worldwide computer networks earlier this month largely spared those of the federal government. While the government dodged a bullet this time, experts say, its systems are still vulnerable — although perhaps less so than in the past.

When the global malware attack — dubbed "WannaCry" — was first detected, a government cybersecurity response group moved quickly.

Refugees make headlines. Internally displaced people don't.

Maybe their plight eludes the limelight because, unlike refugees, they don't cross international borders ... or seek to enter the United States or Western Europe, where people debate how many of them to let in ... or undertake harrowing voyages across the Mediterranean.

And maybe it's because of their official label. "Internally displaced persons" (also known as IDPs) sounds vague and a bit confusing, as if they were lost inside themselves.

As Trump appointees take their new positions in the federal bureaucracy, a legal battle is escalating over alleged intimidation of the civil servants who make the government function.

This Tax Day, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer launched a new tool designed to make government spending and revenue more accessible to the average citizen.

The website — USAFacts.org — has been slow and buggy for users on Tuesday, apparently due to the level of traffic. It offers interactive graphics showing data on revenue, spending, demographics and program missions.

Every recent president has promised to innovate the way government works, and this week, the Trump administration announced its plan to do the same.

The initiative is called the White House Office of American Innovation. Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, will lead a team that includes business executives with little or no government experience. The Trump team says its agenda includes "modernizing government services" and "creating transformational infrastructure projects."

President Trump's budget blueprint calls for eliminating dozens of government programs and zeroing out funding for 19 independent agencies. And that may only be a preview of things to come as the Trump administration seeks to reorganize the executive branch.

No matter who wins the presidential election on Tuesday, it's nearly certain Congress will be more narrowly divided come January.

And with no clear mandate likely coming out of 2016, there is little reason to be overly optimistic that the next Congress can escape the cycle of unproductivity and polarization that has gripped Washington in recent years.


The 115th Congress: Political Dynamics

With little chance of a Democratic House takeover in the 2016 election, the two likeliest scenarios are:

Screengrab Miami new financial website

The City of Miami is making it much easier for you to see how it spends your tax dollars.

Miami debuted a website today that will allow you to dive into the fine details of every department's spending.

For example, you can see  how much commissioners spend on traveling, how much the city spends on public safety and how much each department spends on salaries.

Miami City Manager Daniel Alfonso said this a valuable tool for the public that also promotes government transparency.

taxcredits.net / Flickr Creative Commons

The next time you open your cellphone bill and feel it's overpriced, don’t blame your carrier alone.

Florida ranks fourth in the nation with the highest state-local taxes imposed on cellphones at 16.55 percent, according to a recent study.

The Tax Foundation tracked tax rates across different states to see how much customers were paying on their phone bills.

I AM WIldlife / Instagram

 

Hundreds of college students flocked to a North Miami residential neighborhood to party at a gym normally used by elementary and middle school kids.

DJ Thunder, who was celebrating his birthday, tweeted to his followers that the indoor gym can easily fit 1,000 people, “so thats what we aimin for.”

College students from as far as Boca Raton streamed into Cagni Gym, 700 NE 137 St., for what some were calling “the all you can drink” party.

The much-anticipated bash with free liquor and a $15 to $20 cover charge was not authorized.

ssalonso / Flickr Creative Commons

A two-year-old incident involving photos of people hanging by nooses could cost the City of West Palm Beach $100,000. 

The city commission will consider paying the settlement to three employees who say they were harassed in the workplace.

In 2012, David Fowler, Raymond Johnson and Alden Wilder found photos depicting people with ropes around their necks and people getting beaten.

The photos were found in an envelope on a city truck they used.

Creative Commons / Flickr user nzhamstar

Chaz Stevens is a South Florida activist who passionately disagrees with a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. In a five-to-four split, the high court ruled that opening a town board meeting with prayer was constitutional.

So to poke fun at the decision, Stevens has asked Deerfield Beach to allow him to read a Satanic prayer to open a commission meeting.

The prayer goes like this:

Bar Jack / Flickr

On Monday, Sunrise Mayor Mike Ryan released a series of letters between him, Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi, in which he questions the logic of a state law preventing municipalities from implementing their own gun controls.

Library of Congress

The U.S. House of Representative voted Wednesday to approve a new farm bill after a two-year standoff. It cuts $8 billion over the next decade from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, but the brunt of those cuts won’t be felt in South Florida.

The food stamp program accounts for almost 80 percent of the current farm bill. With pressure to reduce spending, it was inevitable that the program would be scaled back.

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