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Better government through civic engagement

Trailblazing: San Francisco Erases Cannabis Convictions with Civic Tech

Accela
San Francisco
As more state and local governments legalize cannabis, San Francisco and the national civic tech organization Code for America (CfA) are showing how technology and policy can offer communities big benefits. San Francisco partnered with the nonprofit to expunge more than 9,000 marijuana convictions using the group’s Clear My Record App that helps counties clear non-violent felonies from residents’ criminal records. The app uses digital forms and an algorithm to help residents submit proper documentation to officials that meet California’s legal requirements to erase felony convictions. San Francisco officials said the effort to eliminate the 9,000-plus convictions was part of a year-long effort that looked at records dating back to 1975…. Continue reading

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Calling All Big Thinkers: Accela Offers Nine Spots for Nashville NEHA Conference

Hana Albarazi
environmental health conference
For 83 years the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) has held their influential Annual Educational Conference & Exhibition (AEC), an event that brings together environmental health professionals from across the country to network, learn about new developments in environmental health regulation, and to provide a venue for sharing ideas on how to solve common challenges. This year, the conference is in lively Nashville, Tennessee, which is sure to bring large numbers of eager environmental health professionals to mingle and bring home great ideas for how their agency can tackle their most pervasive pain points. For the past several years, Accela is proud to have partnered with NEHA,… Continue reading

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Leadership in 2019: Why Cities Need to Rethink Digital Services

Gary Kovacs
Leadership in 2019: Why Cities Need to Rethink Digital Services

An Open Letter to Mayors and Local Leaders: Leading the Decisive Shift in Government Innovation

Editor’s note: The National League of Cities published this article originally on its CitiesSpeak blog in advance of its 2019 Congressional City Conference in Washington, D.C., from March 10-13. The original post can be found here. With changing technologies and higher constituent demands, cities and state leaders are trying to move faster to build more intimate and meaningful relationships with their constituents. There is pressure to deliver digital services more effectively as a result of online consumerism. Technological change is accelerating at an exponential rate due to industries built around innovation…. Continue reading

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Michigan Explores Cannabis Tech to Bolster Business Activity

Accela
cannabis
When Michigan began issuing medical marijuana licenses last summer many wondered how the new industry would benefit the state and the state’s economy. Yet now, with more than $1 million in tax revenue collected each month from medical cannabis businesses, and the approval of recreational marijuana last year, Michigan is investigating how it can continue to use digital tools to support the industry’s regulation and economic growth. Michigan partnered with Accela to deploy one of the first statewide permitting and licensing systems for medical marijuana in the nation, and the Detroit News reports that since the system’s launch, the state has regularly collected more than $1 million in revenues each month,… Continue reading

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Four Ways Modern Business Licensing Tools Improve Government

Accela
business licensing benefits
At first glance, business licensing may strike some as a basic transaction of government. Yet local cities and departments know the significance of this deceptively simple looking task. Business licenses can be a golden ticket for aspiring entrepreneurs. They’re a gate to ensure sound economic growth and they provides local departments and residents a clear picture of how and where businesses are operating in their community and neighborhoods. With this in mind, business licenses are a critical function of government, and in turn, this makes the many procedures, approvals and tasks in the application process equally important. This is also why having a modern business licensing system is a must have today…. Continue reading

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Customer Spotlight: Inspection App Slashes Complaints and Costs for El Paso Waste Operations

Accela
Astrid Bunner, El Paso
Jesus Yamaguchi remembers the stacks of work orders. They filled up drawers, piled up on desks and made small mounds on the office floor.As El Paso Texas’ solid waste operations manager Yamaguchi said the work orders were part of an enormous service backlog for a vast number of waste bins. El Paso is a city of more than 680,000 residents and Yamaguchi and his eight-person field crew had to handle all requests tied to waste bin distribution and maintenance.“I had more than 5,000 work orders, and these were not current work orders, these were backlogged,” Yamaguchi said. “Back then it was taking you from six to eight months to get any type of service,… Continue reading

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Digitize Your Government: 4 Benefits of Modern Planning and Building Tools

Accela
The pressure on planning and building departments is constant. They must oversee private development to ensure communities are safe. They prepare for escalating demands on infrastructure, review development plans, inspect building methods and materials, and navigate a labyrinth of incoming applications, approvals and information requests. To meet these needs many departments are modernizing, leaning on technology to fill service gaps, speed up processes and make services more accessible to residents. Yet the larger benefits of digital tools are not always apparent. Digitizing workflows and the logistics behind planning and building applications has the power to seed new opportunities for local governments to create a higher quality of life for residents…. Continue reading

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What the ‘420’ Cannabis Bill Could Mean for You

Accela
A new piece of legislation under review in the Senate could decriminalize cannabis at the federal level and push state and local governments to act fast to regulate the emerging market. Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat, introduced Senate Bill “420” this month to support a similar bill in the House that would give states the power to legalize marijuana, opening up new tax revenues and authorizing national insurance and financial institutions to provide support to cannabis businesses. While previous cannabis legalization bills have failed in the House and Senate before, pro-cannabis legislators and lobbying groups are optimistic based on a number of new market forces propelling cannabis adoption…. Continue reading

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Accela Serves Up an Environmental Health App to Fight Foodborne Illness

Accela

To make Valentine’s Day (and every day) dining safer, Accela unveils an App that equips food inspectors with mobile devices for efficient inspections and enables health departments to automate permitting tasks

Whether it’s fine dining, drinks, a box of chocolates or heart-shaped desserts, Valentine’s Day has an inseparable connection to food. Research group Statista estimates U.S. spending on Valentine’s Day candy and an evening out totaled more than $5.5 billion in 2018. Google Trends records a search spike for Italian restaurants at 27 percent during the holiday and food delivery apps like GrubHub see sushi orders jump to 15 percent, with customers four times more likely to order heart-shaped sushi dishes…. Continue reading

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Research Shows Surge in Cloud Tech on the Horizon

Accela
As citizens demand new services, many local governments have felt a push to consider new cloud apps, tools and infrastructure. Yet new research from Government Technology magazine indicates that this push may be just the beginning of a sweeping adoption of cloud technologies across the public sector. This insight comes through three infographics published on GovTech Navigator, the media and research company’s market intelligence site. In a 2018 survey of cities and counties researchers found that on-premise systems — like government owned and operated data centers — still far outnumbered local governments with outsourced, cloud-based data centers.  Among cities, 78 percent of survey respondents said IT systems were on premise;… Continue reading
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