The SEVEN stories that impact your life for Wednesday the 11th of July, 2012
- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says it’s unlikely that any of the 2012 appropriations bills will get passed before the November elections. The National Journal says Reid blames House Republicans for drafting appropriations bills under the overall spending cap agreed during last year’s Budget Control Act. The Democratic Senators are expected to hammer out a continuing resolution when they return in September.
- San Bernardino is the third California city in the past month to seek bankruptcy protection. City officials say the financial situation had become so dire that it could not cover payroll through the summer. The Los Angeles Times reports the city faces a $46-million deficit and depleted coffers. And California isn’t the only state facing these problems. The Fiscal Times says in Scranton Pennsylvania the city’s mayor, Chris Doherty, a Democrat, slashed wages for nearly 400 public employees to $7.25 an hour, the federal minimum wage, because there’s not enough money in city coffers to pay those workers their usual salaries.
- The Justice Department and the FBI are teaming up to review forensic evidence in thousands of cases. The Washington Posts reports, the reviews will be the largest post-conviction review ever done by the FBI. It will include cases conducted by all FBI Laboratory hair and fiber examiners since at least 1985 and may reach earlier if records are available. The review comes after The Washington Post reported in April that Justice Department officials had known for years that flawed forensic work might have led to the convictions of potentially innocent people but had not performed a thorough review of the cases.
- The Pentagon is considering a public database that would list people’s military honors. The Wall Street Journal says last month the Supreme Court struck down a 2006 law that made it a federal crime to lie about receiving military medals. But they did says adding a database would be a better way to head off false claims. But the Pentagon says a database wouldn’t be practical because privacy concerns would prohibit the Defense Department from using Social Security numbers or birth dates. Pentagon press secretary George Little says the court’s decision has prompted the Defense Department to re-examine the idea.
- Lockheed Martin is cutting 740 positions in a Washington, D.C.-based unit. The cuts are spread nationwide. More than half of the workers have left voluntarily. But, Federal News Radio says, the rest, about 300 people, are getting pink slips. The Mission Systems and Sensors unit counts the Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, Marines and Army among its customers. It focuses on systems engineering, software development and program management. The cuts represent 5 percent of the unit’s workforce. Lockheed Martin held nearly $43 billion in federal contracts last year, but it said it was examining every aspect of its business given the budget pressures facing its customers.
- A new hands-on training program is helping the Veterans Affairs Department get a handle on its mountain of disability claims. Federal News Radio says employees were completing 150 percent more claims daily and they were improving accuracy too. So far, the department has trained more than 1,300 staff members. Nearly a 1 million people — or 45 percent of troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan — have filed claims. Secretary Eric Shinseki has pledged to cut their wait time down to four months.
- And on GovLoop, have you signed up for our webinar on harnessing the power of big data? They are using big data analytics in the Memphis Police Department to create a predictive analytics system called Blue CRUSH (Criminal Reduction Utilizing Statistical History). To find out how it works and for more information head over to our homepage to sign up. The webinar kicks off tomorrow at 2pm EST.