Technology

CSG Midwest
To understand just how different the environment for daily fantasy sports operators and participants can be from one U.S. state to the next, the Midwest is a good place to start.
In Minnesota, fantasy sports of some kind are being played by upward of 1 million people, and that includes participation in the shorter-term, “daily” versions of games run by leading operators such as FanDuel and DraftKings.
“We have this reputation of being straight-laced in Minnesota, but we like our charitable gaming and we like our fantasy sports,” Rep. Joe Atkins says. “Minnesota is tops in the country in terms of participation.”
Perhaps the state’s long, cold winters explain the games’ popularity, he adds.
But neighboring Iowa has plenty of months of snow and ice, and few if any residents in that state are playing daily fantasy sports. The reason: The operators of these contests don’t offer them as a result of Iowa’s statutory language on gambling.
CSG Midwest
In recent years, state government has taken a more active role in helping provide citizens with greater access to reliable broadband Internet. By using funding or incentives to encourage providers to expand broadband into underserved areas, policymakers hope to address equity issues involving access, as well as the role that access plays in terms of improved education, economic development and even public safety.
Broadband has become the electricity of the 21st century. Everyone needs it. But a digital divide exists between urban and rural America. According to the Federal Communications Commission’s2015 Broadband Progress Report, more than half of rural Americans lack access to 25 megabits per second download and 3 megabits per second upload speeds, the FCC’s new broadband benchmark for 2015. Comparatively, only 8 percent of urban Americans lack access to the same speeds.

The smartphone has become an American staple in recent years. Need to know the time? The once required wristwatch has been replaced by the smartphone. Drawing a sudden blank on someone’s name or new job post? A quick check of a social media app can save one from embarrassment at a moment’s notice. More importantly, wireless phones are proving to be a critical tool in expanding access to high-speed Internet service to Americans in rural communities. But the expanded reach of smartphones and other wireless devices into millions of hands across the country has met a significant challenge. The U.S. is facing a wireless spectrum shortage.

According to a new report from the Governing Institute, a majority of legislators understand that cyber threats are evolving and pose a risk to their state, but only 18 percent of respondents currently sit on a committee with cybersecurity as part of its mandate and 80 percent of respondents do not know if their state has a cyber-emergency incident plan in place.

A group of CSG members recently visited the headquarters of CSG Associate member Esri, an international Geographic Information System software company, in Redlands, Calif., to discuss how to use data and apps to make better policy decisions in their states. “More mayors lose their jobs over snowplowing than any other reason,” said Richard Leadbeater, public relations manager for Esri. Leadbeater flashed a map on a screen showing how data can be used to help make better decisions about snowplow deployment.

The arrest of an Uber driver in connection with a shooting spree in Kalamazoo, Michigan last weekend has brought renewed focus to the rigor with which rideshare companies conduct background checks of their drivers. State and local governments have been looking at the background check issue in a number of ways as part of rideshare-related legislation over the past year. Here’s a primer.

CSG Midwest
Most legislatures do not have firm rules in place, and nearly all committee witnesses still make their statements in person, according to a recent CSG Midwest survey of the region’s legislative service agencies. However, most states in the Midwest do provide remote testimony as an option in certain situations — especially those in which an invited committee guest faces travel-related obstacles.

State leaders must evaluate risks and invest in protecting state government against cyberattacks. That’s according to experts who discussed cybersecurity at the 2015 CSG National Conference in Nashville, Tenn., in an attempt to prepare state leaders for the inevitable.

This Act provides that neither the state nor a political subdivision may impose, assess, collect, or attempt to collect a tax on Internet access or the use of Internet access.

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