The Washington Post posted this video of Tom Ridge's comments on the homeland security alert system to the NGA. Governor Leavitt's update on the streamlined sales tax project was received favorably. According to the Post, "Governor Leavitt and Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) said the governors will support an extension of the moratorium on taxing Internet access but oppose any effort to extend the moratorium to bundled services that combine telephone and Internet access."
Governor Kempthorne of Idaho is taking over as the new NGA chair. I'm glad Kempthorne is paying attention to egov. According to the Idaho Statesman, Kempthorne already is asking technology companies and e-government specialists to think about ways to get the governors to “see, feel and sense” the issues next year. Apparently, he is even involving Bill Gates.
Mitt Romney on homeland security, “This isn’t a matter of money, this is a matter of establishing procedures and working groups that continue to strengthen our intelligence capability and the communication of intelligence across different levels of government.” It appears that with Governor Leavitt moving to the cabinet, perhaps Romney will become the champion of homeland security among the governors. A letter from a coalition of northeastern states to DHS requests that "centers be established in each state or on a regional basis, staffed by top secret-cleared personnel who would maintain a direct, secure line of communication between state police, local police departments and the federal government." They are asking for more information than what they get through NLETS and NCIC.
Phoenix ran out of gasoline the other day, so Governor Janet Napolitano left the NGA meetings early to address the issue. I didn't realize that Arizona has no gasoline refineries in the entire state.
Several months ago, states worked together to create the Center for State Homeland Security. It is a partnership between NEMA, the Adjutant Generals Association, and Mitretek. They publish a weekly homeland security newsletter. A new Senate minority committee report alleges that states are still being kept in the dark on homeland security issues. The problem with this report is that it sounds more like Lieberman campaign rhetoric than an objective study of the issues.
According to a recent poll, the Swiss are seeking more e-government services. Their portal, www.ch.ch, is available in French, Italian, and German, but my impression is that it still needs a lot of work.