House Approves Spending Bill With 1.9 Percent Civilian Pay Raise in Latest Attempt to Reopen Government

Government Executive | January 09, 2019

House Approves Spending Bill With 1.9 Percent Civilian Pay Raise in Latest Attempt to Reopen Government
The House on Wednesday voted 240-188 to approve the first of four appropriations bills in Democrats’ latest effort to end a partial government shutdown, now in its 19th day. But although some Senate Republicans appeared to waver on keeping portions of the government closed over President Trump’s demands for $5.7 billion in funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, Wednesday provided little in the way of progress toward a solution.

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Industrial hemp is an agricultural commodity that is cultivated for use in the production of a wide range of products, including foods and beverages, cosmetics and personal care products, and nutritional supplements, as well as fabrics and textiles, yarns and spun fibers, paper, construction and insulation materials, and other manufactured goods. Hemp can be grown as a fiber, seed, or other dual-purpose crop. Some estimate that the global market for hemp consists of more than 25,000 products. Precise data are not available on the size of the U.S. market for hemp-based products, but current industry estimates report annual sales at more than $580 million annually. Hemp is a variety of Cannabis sativa and is of the same plant species as marijuana. Although industrial hemp is genetically different and distinguished by its use and chemical makeup, and has long been cultivated for non-drug use in the production of industrial and other goods, in the United States, hemp is subject to U.S. drug laws and growing industrial hemp is restricted. Under current U.S. drug policy all cannabis varieties, including industrial hemp, are considered Schedule I controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA, 21 U.S.C. §§801 et seq.; Title 21 C.F.R. Part 1308.11). Despite these legitimate industrial uses, hemp production and usage are controlled and regulated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Strictly speaking, the CSA does not make growing hemp illegal; rather, it places strict controls on its production and enforces standards governing the security conditions under which the crop must be grown, making it illegal to grow without a DEA permit. In other words, a grower needs to get permission from the DEA to grow hemp or faces the possibility of federal charges or property confiscation, regardless of whether the grower has a state-issued permit. Currently, cannabis varieties may be legitimately grown for research purposes only. No known active federal licenses allow for hemp cultivation at this time. There is no large-scale commercial hemp production in the United States, and the U.S. market is largely dependent on imports, both as finished hempcontaining products and as ingredients for use in further processing. More than 30 nations grow industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity, which is sold on the world market.

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GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

Granicus Acquires Leading Compliance Software Provider GovQA to Help Government Agencies Manage Exponential Increase in Public Records Requests

Granicus | August 26, 2021

Granicus, the leading provider of cloud-based digital experience solutions for the public sector, today announced the acquisition of GovQA, the nation’s leading provider of public records and compliance workflow solutions for government. With the addition of GovQA, Granicus continues to extend the capabilities of its Civic Engagement Platform, helping government officials deliver consistent, unified digital experiences to their communities while automating, streamlining and transforming internal process workflows. “Governments are experiencing a massive influx of records requests filed by the public, corporations, and media; with some seeing a 500% increase in requests and even greater increases in the resources needed to fulfill these requests compared to only a few years ago,” said Mark Hynes, CEO of Granicus. “These trends have correlated with the public’s interest in pandemic response, an increase in social tensions and an overall erosion of government trust. Local and State government agencies have the opportunity to re-shape the trust narrative by embracing digital civic engagement and experience solutions that consistently demonstrate government transparency, efficiency, responsiveness, equity, empathy and reliance on truth. GovQA is an important and powerful addition to the Granicus platform that amplifies our customers’ ability to support healthy communities through deeper transparency, engagement and connection, while ensuring they remain compliant with their state’s unique regulations.” Access to public records is a vital pillar in the foundation of government trust. In many cases, fulfillment controls, processes and timeline compliance rules are mandated by local, state and federal regulations—such as the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)—to drive consistency, reliability and faith in the process. But request fulfillment can be incredibly fragmented, complex and time-consuming for government officials—making their ability to remain compliant and meet public expectations a serious challenge, with the introduction of new data streams such as police body camera footage, social media posts, and smart cities technologies only making it more difficult. According to GovQA’s recent research, public records fulfillment and compliance complexity has increased 150% over the last three years alone. “Governments today are inundated with information requests. As volume continues to skyrocket, and requests become increasingly complex, traditional public records processes are no longer able to satisfy these demands,” said Tim Callahan, CEO of GovQA. “The stakes for governments are way too high to do this poorly or below standards; it’s why hundreds of government agencies have turned to GovQA to help them drive the efficiency and compliance required in today’s environment. And now, as part of Granicus, public records request management can more seamlessly be integrated into a government’s overall digital approach to community transparency, engagement, communications and workflow management.” GovQA has a proven track record of transforming public records management to make government processes simpler, easier and more transparent. To date, they’ve completed millions of information requests for nearly 800 government customers. With their public request compliance automation solution, GovQA offers: Enhanced efficiency: Information requests have grown significantly in recent years, and many governments have yet to invest in purpose-built automation solutions to help manage the influx —forcing them to rely on manual processes, spreadsheets or other tools ill-equipped to support increased volumes and compliance requirements. As a result, requests can take weeks or months to fulfill, creating a poor community experience and putting agencies at risk of compliance failures. GovQA overhauls and automates these processes, creating a fast, intuitive workflow that saves government personnel valuable time, ensures they remain in compliance, and delivers a positive community experience. Redundant request matching: GovQA’s software provides patented tools to quickly identify redundant requests, enabling residents to get fast access to the information they requested without requiring government personnel to unnecessarily duplicate time-consuming work. Risk mitigation: Governments have a legal responsibility to provide access to public information while protecting certain personal, private information. Through increased workflow automation, proprietary private information redaction technologies, and a digital audit trail, GovQA makes it possible for governments to remain compliant with public record laws while delivering on public requests at speed. Flexible customization: GovQA offers highly-configurable, no-code technology that enables government personnel to create custom workflows built for their unique needs. Agencies can securely collect and control time sensitive information within, across and outside government boundaries—eliminating silos, increasing efficiency, ensuring compliance and reducing the most common record request redundancies. Cost recovery: Many regulations governing public requests allow for agencies to charge fees to help cover the high costs of request fulfillment; GovQA with Granicus supports a variety of charge models and payment processing capabilities for funds capture. In combination with Granicus’ Civic Engagement Platform, GovQA accelerates Granicus' vision for intelligent, connected digital government experiences for both government agencies and officials, and the communities they serve. Today, more than 5,500 governments worldwide partner with Granicus to power their digital communications, public participation, online services, and agenda & public records management, all from a single cloud platform purpose-built for today's modern government. Shea & Company served as the exclusive financial advisor for GovQA. About Granicus Granicus connects governments with the people they serve by providing the first and only civic engagement platform for the public sector. Over 5,500 government agencies, including 850 state departments, and more than 250 million citizen subscribers power an unmatched Subscriber Network that turns government missions into quantifiable results. With comprehensive cloud-based solutions for communications, government website design, meeting and agenda management software, records management, and digital services, Granicus empowers stronger relationships between government and residents across the U.S., U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. By simplifying interactions with residents, while disseminating critical information, Granicus brings governments closer to the people they serve—driving meaningful change for communities around the globe. About GovQA GovQA is the leading provider of cloud-based SaaS automated workflow solutions for government compliance. Customers use our software to more easily process and manage public records and information requests. GovQA combines trusted tools and security, proven government expertise, and a scalable platform that enables cities, counties, and state agencies to securely collect and control time-sensitive information. GovQA’s proprietary Peers in Public Records (PiPR) Index is the only index that tracks trends in public records for state and local governments.

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GSA, Defense Department’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center Select Booz Allen to Support Joint Warfighting National Mission Initiative

Booz Allen Hamilton | June 10, 2020

Booz Allen Hamilton (NYSE: BAH) today announced that the company has been awarded a five-year, $800 million contract by the GSA’s Federal Systems Integration and Management Center (FEDSIM) and the Department of Defense to provide artificial intelligence (AI) services to support the Joint AI Center (JAIC). Under this task order, awarded through the GSA Alliant 2 Governmentwide Acquisition Contract, Booz Allen will support the JAIC’s Joint Warfighting National Mission Initiative (JWNMI), serving as the prime systems integrator in the development of new artificial intelligence technologies and products to improve operational effectiveness in all domains. In this capacity, Booz Allen will coordinate and work hand-in-hand with industry to source and integrate the best technologies to meet JWNMI's complex requirements and deliver world-class AI capabilities.

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ATIS Announces Call to Action to Promote US Leadership for 6G Development- China, Finland, Japan in Race

ATIS | May 22, 2020

ATIS noted that the timeline for 6G development has already begun, as today’s investments in 5G networks, devices and applications already point toward the future opportunities for 6G. Industry and government have started collaboration to create the 6G future, but this work must be amplified now to position the U.S. as the leader. U.S. maintains a competitive technology position in 5G networks today and 6G networks in the future. The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) announced a call to action and shared its vision for collaboration across government, academia and industry to promote U.S. leadership on the path to 6G. ATIS noted that the timeline for 6G development has already begun, as today’s investments in 5G networks, devices and applications already point toward the future opportunities for 6G. The entity highlighted that collaborative steps and an aligned commitment between government and industry was key to ensure the U.S. maintains a competitive technology position in 5G networks today and 6G networks in the future. Read More: White House to Rewrite Cloud Vendor Contracts for Security Liability COVID-19 has brought unprecedented economic and public health challenges, and it has also shone a spotlight on the critical role of communications networks in our daily lives, as the connective fabric between people, While innovation can be triggered in reaction to current market needs, technology leadership at a national level requires an early commitment and development that addresses U.S. needs as well as a common vision and set of objectives, Susan Miller, President and CEO, ATIS. ATIS’ Call to Action promotes a holistic approach, beginning with innovative research and development that addresses U.S. needs, a commitment to standardization, and full-scale commercialization. The entity said that the result of this initiative will be the introduction of 6G services and technologies that position the U.S. as the global leader for the next decade and beyond. While the realities of different geographies, populations, economies and government oversight will always influence global market demands, it is the leadership of ideas coupled with the commitment of the public, private and academic sectors that will deliver the power and benefits of U.S. technological leadership. Industry and government have started collaboration to create the 6G future, but this work must be amplified now to position the U.S. as the leader in telehealth, smart agriculture, distance learning, digitized commerce and artificial intelligence, Mike Nawrocki, Vice President, Technology and Solutions, ATIS. Other nations have also kicked off initial efforts in the race to future 6G technologies. In November 2019, China also officially started researching 6G technology. According to reports by Chinese state media, government ministries and research institutes had initial meetings with the aim of establishing a national 6G technology research and development group. The Ministry of Science and Technology said that it will set up two working groups to carry out the 6G research activities. Also, Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE have also started research on future 6G technologies. Also in November, the University of Oulu, in Finland, published what is claimed to be the world’s first 6G whitepaper, outlining the key drivers, research requirements and challenges for this technology. The report outlines a tentative roadmap towards ‘ubiquitous wireless intelligence’ for 2030. “The bottom line of 6G is data,” said Matti Latva-aho, director of 6G Flagship at the University of Oulu and co-editor of the whitepaper. “The way in which data is collected, processed, transmitted and consumed within the wireless network should drive 6G development.” Earlier this year, the Japanese government announced plans to put together a comprehensive strategy regarding future “6G” wireless communications networks, and it already set up a panel to start discussions on the topic. The 6G panel will discuss and analyze technology development, potential utilization of this future technology, as well as methods and policies. Japan’s 6G panel will include representatives of the private sector as well as university researchers and will hear opinions from a variety of industries in order to study potential challenges. Read More: Defending the government enterprise About ATIS As a leading technology and solutions development organization, the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) brings together the top global ICT companies to advance the industry's most pressing business priorities. ATIS' nearly 200 member companies are currently working to address 5G, the All-IP transition, network functions virtualization, cybersecurity, big data analytics, cloud services, device solutions, emergency services, M2M, network evolution, quality of service, billing support, operations, and much more.

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Spotlight

Industrial hemp is an agricultural commodity that is cultivated for use in the production of a wide range of products, including foods and beverages, cosmetics and personal care products, and nutritional supplements, as well as fabrics and textiles, yarns and spun fibers, paper, construction and insulation materials, and other manufactured goods. Hemp can be grown as a fiber, seed, or other dual-purpose crop. Some estimate that the global market for hemp consists of more than 25,000 products. Precise data are not available on the size of the U.S. market for hemp-based products, but current industry estimates report annual sales at more than $580 million annually. Hemp is a variety of Cannabis sativa and is of the same plant species as marijuana. Although industrial hemp is genetically different and distinguished by its use and chemical makeup, and has long been cultivated for non-drug use in the production of industrial and other goods, in the United States, hemp is subject to U.S. drug laws and growing industrial hemp is restricted. Under current U.S. drug policy all cannabis varieties, including industrial hemp, are considered Schedule I controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA, 21 U.S.C. §§801 et seq.; Title 21 C.F.R. Part 1308.11). Despite these legitimate industrial uses, hemp production and usage are controlled and regulated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Strictly speaking, the CSA does not make growing hemp illegal; rather, it places strict controls on its production and enforces standards governing the security conditions under which the crop must be grown, making it illegal to grow without a DEA permit. In other words, a grower needs to get permission from the DEA to grow hemp or faces the possibility of federal charges or property confiscation, regardless of whether the grower has a state-issued permit. Currently, cannabis varieties may be legitimately grown for research purposes only. No known active federal licenses allow for hemp cultivation at this time. There is no large-scale commercial hemp production in the United States, and the U.S. market is largely dependent on imports, both as finished hempcontaining products and as ingredients for use in further processing. More than 30 nations grow industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity, which is sold on the world market.