December 2, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - It was an ambitious federal technology project, tying together a string of government databases in one Web portal. But the launch was a giant mess: contract missteps, broken deadlines, cost overruns. Users complained the site was balky and unworkable. That was the rocky rollout last year of SAM.gov, a General Services Administration project intended to combine nine different contracting databases. The site was delayed two months and, even then, performance was so poor that it had to be taken down for repairs.
December 2, 2013 |
Trying to stem a steady erosion in employer health coverage, California's insurance exchange said it's looking to enroll 7,000 small businesses next year as part of the federal healthcare law. At an event in Los Angeles on Monday, officials with Covered California said their online marketplace for small firms is fully operational and that more than 1,500 businesses had already created shopping accounts on the state website. California officials sought to dispel any confusion after an employer-related delay last week by the separate federal exchange in 36 other states.
December 1, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Two months after its disastrous debut, the federal website for enrolling Americans in health insurance under President Obama's healthcare law has improved markedly, and many consumers are now likely to be able to use it to select insurance plans. Enrollment in health plans - the most important measure - has been accelerating. But the performance of the troubled HealthCare.gov website, which consumers in 36 states are supposed to be able to use to sign up for health coverage, still falls well short of basic standards for Internet-based commerce.
November 29, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - On the website for Jim Fulner's U.S. Senate campaign, 34 letters and numbers appear in a string above the "Donate Now!" button. They are the code for his campaign's bitcoin wallet, where holders of the so-called digital currency can send it to the Libertarian from Michigan - without a bank acting as an intermediary. "It's an exciting new technology," said Jeff Wood, the campaign treasurer and a self-described early adopter of bitcoin. But as with any budding technology, federal agencies must examine how its use fits in with the law, including rules for campaign donations.
November 28, 2013 |
Question: I own a second house where my son lives while he attends college during the school year. During summer breaks, he usually goes to live someplace else for an internship or he travels, so I like to rent out rooms in the house to teachers who are in town for continuing education classes. Generally the teachers stay anywhere from a week to the whole summer. I don't know much about being a landlord. Would any fair housing laws apply to these summer rental arrangements? Answer: Fair housing protections exist under both federal and state law. The scope of protection differs between the two. Both statutes cover "dwellings," but under the federal statute, a dwelling is exempted from the fair housing laws if a homeowner-landlord is renting a single-family house and owns three or fewer single-family houses, or if a homeowner is renting out a dwelling room or unit that contains living quarters, and he/she lives at the site and shares these living quarters with the tenant.
November 22, 2013 |
MEXICO CITY - No one ever said it was easy being a mayor in Mexico, where corruption is as common as cacti, politics is a Machiavellian game of three-dimensional chess and drug cartels are often more powerful than local governments. But in recent days, Mexicans have seen the depth of the challenge facing the men and women charged with running the 2,438 municipios , roughly the equivalent of U.S. counties, that are supposed to be a building block of governance here. The mayor of Santa Ana Maya, a rural municipality in Michoacan state, was killed this month after complaining that cartel members were regularly demanding a chunk of the federal money meant for public works projects in his area, a practice he said was widespread.