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May 27

Local Governments Brace for Revenue Shortfall

By |2020-05-27T11:13:42-08:00May 27th, 2020|City Clerks, Court hearings, Industry News, judicial, Live Streamng, Technology Innovations|0 Comments

The US has a wide range of local governments that include cities, counties, townships, towns, villages, boroughs, school districts, public libraries. These entities need financial help, just like all businesses do, to prevent worker furloughs or layoffs.

Local government employees, like many in the country, are concerned about keeping their job. Local governments employ 14.5 million people, including the overwhelming majority of first responders and teachers who are the most needed now to respond to the public health crisis and bring the country out of the economic crisis it now faces.

The jobs and pay of nearly half a million firefighters, 900,000 police officers, 1 million hospital and health care workers, and more than 5 million teachers who work in local governments are on the line if there is no federal fiscal intervention.

The need for federal aid to local governments will also help keep local businesses in business and the public informed. Without federal assistance, local governments will have to reduce the assistance they are providing to constituents to cope with the effects of the pandemic.

Normal government services provided to their citizens, including police and fire protection, health care services, and the educational work of teachers and librarians, will have to be reduced or cut altogether. In terms of a recession that the country is facing, furloughs, layoffs, and spending cuts will reduce consumer spending and exacerbate the recession.

Local governments are providing massive resources and support for coping with the coronavirus crisis, like testing for the virus. Hospitals, health departments, other health providers, first responders, and emergency medical technicians cannot continue without financial support from the federal government.

Because of closures to businesses, parks, and other services, local governments are suffering huge revenue losses. For example, sales tax revenues are dropping as businesses close and consumers stay at home. In a typical year, local governments receive roughly 35% to 40% of revenue through intergovernmental transfers, the vast majority of it coming from state governments that now face budget crises of their own. This will lead to further budgetary shortfalls for localities.

How much will your city be impacted?

Counties with populations between 50,000 and 500,000 will lose more than $30 billion in revenue. Counties with populations under 50,000 could lose about $10 billion in revenue and face another $10 billion of increased expenditures due to the pandemic, requiring a 24% reduction in their budgets.

In a typical year, local governments receive roughly 35% to 40% of revenue through intergovernmental transfers, the vast majority of it coming from state governments that now face budget crises of their own. This will lead to further budgetary shortfalls for localities.

In addition to heightened expenditure needs and falling revenues, local jurisdictions must balance their budgets and are heavily penalized for borrowing for operating expenses. As of now, these governments are faced with only two choices—cut spending or raise taxes. Both of these actions will deepen and lengthen the economic recession, as they did during the last recession.

Based on prior economic downturns, most local jurisdictions are likely to use spending cuts rather than tax increases to balance their budgets—indeed, many local governments already face relatively strict limits on their taxing authority.

Without federal aid now, local governments will be forced to furlough and lay off workers, deepening the recession and cutting back on critical services to constituents, such as police protection. In addition, local governments would be forced to reduce the assistance they provide to constituents and entities within their borders for coping with the effects of the pandemic. These highly undesirable outcomes can be prevented if sufficient federal fiscal relief is provided to local jurisdictions, but the clock is ticking.

At AV Capture All, our goal is to help local governments perform their mandates to keep their constituents informed.  Our affordable meeting management solutions for local government improve efficiency by streamlining the meeting workflow, while promoting transparency and accountability by empowering constituents to access valuable information pertaining to their community. With AV Capture All, government agencies can easily Capture, Manage & Share their meetings online.

Click here to request a DEMO today

May 18

Governments Struggling With Public Records Requirements

By |2020-05-18T13:52:11-08:00May 18th, 2020|City Clerks, Industry News, Live Streamng, Technology Innovations|0 Comments

Every state in the country is dealing with the health crisis differently. Local governments are finding ways to keep cities running while the staff is stretched thin. As a result, many state and local governments have reduced access to public records that have details about key government decisions.

Public officials have said employees either don’t have the time or ability to compile the requested documents or data because they are too busy responding to the outbreak or are working from home instead of at government offices.

The result is that citizens may be in dark about how decisions are being made that affect their lives. Some governors have issued decrees allowing record requests to be put on hold for as long as the health emergency continues. Others have extended response deadlines by days, weeks, or even months. Governors from Washington to Michigan to Rhode Island also have used their executive powers to waive or extend response deadlines for open-records requests.

For open-government advocates, this is a challenging time.

In order to avoid waste, fraud, and abuse, it’s essential the press and public have access to records and information to hold accountable those who have the power to spend the billions of dollars states are receiving to address the issues from COVID19.

“The public records law exists to give people the ability to hold their government accountable, and without timely access to information, they can’t do it,” said Attorney Brian Black, executive director of The Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest.

While many local governments are holding virtual public meetings, the public is still not receiving information that pertains to their health and livelihoods because states have declared a “State of Emergency” which limits access to information.

“Things like that are especially problematic, because we have no idea when these states of emergencies are going to end,” said Gunita Singh, an attorney at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, based in Washington, D.C. “Who knows how long these individual requesters are going to be waiting to have their public records requests fulfilled?”

With AV Capture All meeting management solutions, we make it easy for local Governments to keep constituents informed and engaged. Our Live-Streaming solutions are secure and easy to use and let’s local governments stay engaged with the public during this unprecedented time.

AV Capture– Legislative Solution is used to record Audio and Video while integrating Agendas, Minutes, and Related Documents. The document content is synchronized with the Audio/Video stream, then indexed and immediately searchable when published online. Once published, staff and citizens can view any part of the Audio/Video-on-demand, while following along with the synchronized Agenda, Minutes and Related Documents. Live Streaming is also integrated into the platform to allow staff and citizens who cannot attend the meeting in-person to view online from home.

AV Capture is here to ensure the gears of government continue to work and the public is informed.

Click here to contact us TODAY to a Demo.

May 12

Virtual Security Now More Important Than Ever

By |2020-05-12T10:24:13-08:00May 12th, 2020|City Clerks, Court hearings, Industry News, Live Streamng, Technology Innovations|0 Comments

As the Coronavirus pandemic continues, almost everyone has adapted to a new, virtual reality. Businesses, doctors, restaurants, and even the U.S. Supreme Court have made adjustments so they can continue functioning while people shelter at home.  

And now our Federal Government is engaging in video conferencing. Last week members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus met for the first-ever “Virtual Congress.” The event was streamed on Facebook Live with members speaking against a backdrop of the House chamber. The hourlong session was meant to replicate how the House debates legislation.

This week, for the first time in American history, a senate hearing will be conducted via videoconferencing. The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hosted the virtual hearing which will feature a combination of in-person and video conferencing participation.

“After consulting with Dr. Fauci, and in an abundance of caution for our witnesses, senators, and the staff, all four Administration witnesses will appear by videoconference due to these unusual circumstances,” said Senator Lamar Alexander, chair of the committee.

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Fauci, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn and Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir will also appear at the virtual hearing.

For Federal employees, one of the biggest issues they face is security. With the shift to telework, using personal computers versus agency-assigned computers has been a sticking point for several reasons. Agencies are now writing new policies for work-at-home during the COVID-19 pandemic that allows employees to use their own devices and “bring-your-own-device” (BYOD), which could have effects even after employees are able to return to the office.

“BYOD is now the reality, and it will continue to be,” said Greg Touhill, former federal CISO, and president of mobile security firm AppGate Federal Group, “because I don’t think we’re going back.”

Government agencies that have focused on the identity-based model of security have encountered fewer technical hurdles to access as the shift to telework enters the medium and long term.

Live Streaming Virtual meetings have some drawbacks but for the most part are an efficient use of time and resources.

According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the statistics support the work from home model. The benefits of Live Streaming video communication are increased productivity, better connected distributed teams, reduced travel expenses, and a less stressful way to meet and work.

An OPM survey done before the health crisis found that video telecommuting work from home has been beneficial:

  • 82% of video users are less likely to multitask (as compared to just audio)
  • 78% of users said they use video communication at work for team meetings or stand-up meetings because it keeps them connected and engaged
  • 63% of video users miss seeing colleagues’ faces when they can’t join calls

The issue of security has not been addressed by many providers. However, now is the time for video conferencing providers to implement enterprise-grade, mission-critical security applications to ensure company and employee data is protected.

At AV Capture All, security has been essential to our platform because we work with government agencies that demand it. Our Live-Streaming solutions are secure, easy to use, and lets local governments stay engaged with the public during this unprecedented time.

AV Capture– Legislative Solution is used to record Audio and Video while integrating Agendas, Minutes, and Related Documents. The document content is synchronized with the Audio/Video stream, then indexed and immediately searchable when published online. Once published, staff and citizens can view any part of the Audio/Video-on-demand, while following along with the synchronized Agenda, Minutes and Related Documents. Live Streaming is also integrated into the platform to allow staff and citizens who cannot attend the meeting in-person to view online from home.

AV Capture All is here to ensure the gears of government continue to work and the public is informed.

Click here to Contact us today to a Demo.

May 8

The Virtual Future

By |2020-05-08T12:19:49-08:00May 8th, 2020|City Clerks, Court hearings, Industry News, judicial, Live Streamng, Technology Innovations|0 Comments

Are our lives going virtual?

Of course, there are services we need that happen in person, but one thing this global health crisis has shown is, a lot of things in our lives that we need can be done virtually.

Technology has been what is keeping us safe, productive, and engaged. As this becomes more of the norm, more platforms will be developed to handle services we used to do in person.

For local governments, technology’s what is keeping everything and everyone connected. All over the country, mayors, who are the heartbeat of their respective cities and their residents, are using technology to keep their city running and citizens engaged.

As technology continues to develop, it will enhance our ability to expand and establish innovative approaches to living, working, and community safety.

Innovation Is Key

The traditional City Hall model has now gone virtual. For large cities like Miami and Chicago and small cities like Biddeford, Maine, they have conducted their City Council meetings virtually and they are encouraging public participation. Across the country, mayors have adopted virtual platforms to deliver city services, collaborate, provide updates on COVID-19, and advance city operations.

While cities across the country continue to race to adapt to the new times we have found ourselves in, it is clear, technology is the solution. Finding the right technology platform is another question. Some have security issues, while others are cost-prohibitive. AV Capture All offers local government solutions that are costs effective and with a robust platform, can keep your constituents informed and engaged.

We’ve discovered remote work can be effective in keeping us safe while doing being productive, and as the social distancing measures continue, we will have to find innovative ways to ensure needs are being met.

As virtual city meetings become the future of local government and we’re meeting with each other virtually online, finding the right platform is key.

Local governments depend on their staff to connect with citizens and virtual conferences and meetings can be a placeholder until we are able to meet in person once again.

According to a report from Cisco Visual Networking Index, by 2021, it is estimated that 80% of web traffic will be video and Live Streaming, including video conferencing. And while some may believe that virtual conferences would not be conducive to attentiveness, 86% of participants in online meetings say they are as attentive as or more attentive than they would be in an in-person meeting. There will be 1.9 billion Internet video users, up from 1.4 billion in 2016, and people worldwide will be watching 3 trillion minutes of Internet video per month, which is 5 million years of video per month.

Get On Board

As things slowly begin to reopen, people will still be reluctant to go to City Council Meetings, especially those that require any kind of travel, like bus or train. Virtual meetings most likely are here to stay as they bridge the gap of caring about the health and wellness of staff, the public, and constituents.

Learn more about how AV Capture All can keep your mandated council meetings safe, effective, and engaging. AV Capture All offers affordable meeting management solutions for local government.
Our solutions improve efficiency by streamlining the meeting workflow while promoting transparency and accountability by empowering constituents to access valuable information about their community. With AV Capture All, government agencies can easily Capture, Manage & Share their meetings online.

Click here to Request a Demo Today

May 6

Love and Weddings in the Time of Health Crisis

By |2020-05-06T11:27:37-08:00May 6th, 2020|City Clerks, Industry News, Live Streamng, Technology Innovations, Uncategorized|0 Comments

You might never think about a government agency or department until you need it, and when you need it during a health crisis that has caused a shutdown government, things can get complicated.

You never think about a marriage license until you need one. Needing a marriage license during the time of COVID19 has been another twist in how we’re adjusting our lives. And interestingly enough, Court clerks are reporting a spike in applications for marriage licenses, despite the COVID-19 restrictions and closed courthouses.

More People Are Applying For Marriage Licenses
Despite The Pandemic

Does experiencing a health pandemic make you adjust priorities and reevaluate your life? When it comes to getting married that seems to be the case. During the first weeks of the pandemic, courthouses actually saw a spike in marriages, and nationally the trend has held steady.

In Alexandria, Va., they issued almost 30% more marriage licenses in February and March than the same time last year. And in Little Rock, AR, they saw a huge spike in marriage licenses the week of St. Patrick’s Day, with more couples coming in than did the week of Valentine’s Day. And despite being closed to the public, the licensing office continues to issue marriage licenses through a plexiglass window.

Disruption and isolation have a way of encouraging us to electively re-evaluate our lives – and that can be a positive affirmation in the middle of a disconcerting time.

Researchers found that when we’re exposed to an uncertainty that feels like it is threatening our future people are eager to affirm their relationships.

Dr. Susan David, a Harvard psychologist and host of a new Ted podcast series on coping emotionally with the pandemic, living through a crisis can be genuinely formative.

“People who’ve gone through trauma or struggle in the way that we are experiencing now, that struggle can simultaneously be distressing, and there is enormous growth and power that can come from it,” she says.

In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to allow state residents to obtain marriage licenses remotely due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The state will also recognize marriages performed over a video call as long as both members of the couple are present and there is at least one witness to the live ceremony.

For local governments, keeping life moving is their priority even in the middle of a health crisis. Every state and city are finding ways to keep their citizen’s life moving forward too. At AV Capture All, our priority is to make it as easy as possible for local governments to keep their business of the people moving forward. Our Live Streaming solutions and platform allow staff and citizens who cannot attend the city meeting’s in-person to view online from home.

Apr 30

If They Open, Will You Go?

By |2020-04-30T13:29:20-08:00April 30th, 2020|City Clerks, Industry News, Live Streamng, Technology Innovations|0 Comments

That iconic line from the movie Field of Dreams “if you build it, they will come” may not apply to the current health crisis.

As this unprecedented health crisis enters the third month and Americans face the prospect of coming out of quarantine, there are many aspects to consider.

Will you visit your favorite restaurant or store?

In a recent Yahoo News poll, an overwhelming 71% of respondents said they are more worried about lifting restrictions too soon than going to a restaurant or store.

Trust seems to be a bigger issue for many Americans. Sixty-three percent said they will only go back to a business that they know and trust. When it comes to lifting quarantine restrictions, most people said they want to see widespread, accessible testing in place, and they want trusted medical experts to give their blessing.

Travel was another area that has Americans concerned with 48% saying they won’t book air travel for vacations for the foreseeable future.

At the same time that people are concerned about leaving quarantine, 41% said their emotional well-being has worsened and 28% said their physical health has worsened.

Balancing all this is leaving Americans unsure what the next few months will bring.

State and local governments are also balancing how to run the state and cities. Preparedness drills can’t prepare you for a total shutdown while still having to run the government and hold required public city meetings.

But every government, both state and local, are doing their best to run meetings virtually without a success model to follow. The outcomes vary to be sure but depending on the state and city, each week can be measured for how it’s working and they can streamline the process.

For states, their first issue that needs to be addressed is whether state and local governments have written policies that allow them to run a remote meeting and if such meetings legally meet the requirements of open meetings laws.

Governments need to ensure that residents have equal access to such meetings and that they are secure and easy to interface with, says Alan Shark, executive director of the Public Technology Institute. “How do you ensure equal access?” Shark says. “How do you ensure that the democratic process is preserved?”

Ultimately, the pandemic has led to a recognition that local governments support hundreds of lines of business, whether that is authorizing building permits, letting residents pay bills and taxes or get marriage licenses, supplying health records, or allowing a park to be built. “The things that government does are not ad hoc,” Shark says. “These are ongoing things that have to happen and often they are required by law.”

The issue that local governments are facing is what platform to use for their virtual monthly public meetings. AV Capture All provides the services and solution that accomplishes what governments need to be able to achieve their public mandate to keep constitutes aware of what’s going on. AV Capture – Legislative Solution is used to record Audio and Video while integrating Agendas, Minutes, and Related Documents.

The document content is synchronized with the Audio/Video stream, then indexed and immediately searchable when published online. Once published, staff and citizens can view any part of the Audio/Video-on-demand, while following along with the synchronized Agenda, Minutes and Related Documents. Live Streaming is also integrated into the platform to allow staff and citizens who cannot attend the meeting in-person to view online from home.

Our platform is easy to use and let’s local governments stay engaged with the public during this unprecedented time.

AV Capture All is here to ensure the gears of government continue to work and the public is informed.

Cick here to Contact us today to a Demo.

Apr 22

A Different Earth Day

By |2020-04-30T13:29:26-08:00April 22nd, 2020|Live Streamng, Technology Innovations|0 Comments

This year’s Earth Day feels different. Few times in our history has a health crisis affected every country at the same time.  On April 22, we celebrate Earth Day, when everyone around the world comes together to show their support for environmental protections but this year everyone on earth is battling a virus.

There are several interesting intersections between Earth Day and the Coronavirus virus. One is that with home quarantine there have been very few cars on the roads worldwide meaning fewer gases being emitted. Car engines release poisonous gases that pollute the air, especially the extremely harmful greenhouse gas called carbon monoxide.

There is visible evidence that the earth has been less polluted over the last two months.

Research indicates that individuals residing in the most vulnerable communities experience higher levels of air pollution exposure are also among high-risk groups for the Coronavirus.

Air pollution, especially long-term exposure, causes severe illnesses such as, respiratory infection, which plays a major role in people diagnosed with COVID-19. And individuals with these underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe cases of COVID 19.

Creating a healthy planet with healthy people starts with fresh, clean, air. Local governments play a role in managing both the impact of the virus and promoting a healthy environment.

Many state governments are creating clean air plans that will look to the future and prepare an air quality standard that will sustain us through major catastrophes addressing the preventative measures for the worst-case scenarios.

While we have to celebrate Earth Day inside our homes this year, we are doing good for both our health and the earth’s health.

 

Apr 17

Constitutional rights during COVID19

By |2020-04-17T11:56:23-08:00April 17th, 2020|City Clerks, Court hearings, judicial, Live Streamng|0 Comments

Courtrooms all over the country are taking health precautions during the mandated quarantine as they try to continue to operate in this unprecedented national health crisis.

Some courthouses are banning the public during legal proceedings, only allowing the lawyers and defendants inside. This is in stark contrast to First Amendment law and a 1984 landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that established that courtrooms are public spaces.

But these are exceptional times that call for exceptional decisions to be made. However there is massive confusion because no nationwide guidance has been called for so each Judge has to make his or her own decision.

In Nebraska, U.S. District Judge John Gerard postponed all civil and criminal jury trials and hearings scheduled.

In Iowa, federal courts are closed for civil and criminal jury trials until May 4. Judges are allowed to hold hearings if they deem them necessary and safe. Likewise, state courts in Iowa have called off criminal jury trials until late April and civil jury trials until early May. One County Courthouse is closed to the public indefinitely.

In federal courts on both sides of the Missouri River, courtrooms are essentially closed for an extended period of time.

District courts are scrambling to impanel the required number of prospective jurors without compromising the safety of the citizens. They are also scrambling to “ensure the constitutional rights of individuals” while balancing health concerns about spreading the virus. And then there’s  the media’s right to be inside a courtroom.

Technology has played a big part in ensuring the work inside the courthouse continues. In Nebraska, Douglas County District Judge Wheelock wasn’t physically inside the courtroom during a proceeding. Judge Wheelock “appeared” on a 50-inch courtroom monitor via Skype videoconferencing.

“For the record, the court will note that all parties are present in the courtroom,” Wheelock announced, “and I’m appearing literally from my living-room area.”

With AV Capture All solutions, courtrooms can still work as they normally do by using our AV Capture Judicial tools to record the Audio and Video of courtroom hearings. The Court Calendar or Docket is synchronized to the recording, with an option to publish public hearings online. If published, the docket is then indexed and becomes immediately searchable, allowing Court staff to save time by directing defendants or other interested parties to the website to view or order their recordings. If not published, court recordings can be easily located and burned to DVD.

For courts all over the county, we’re here to help during this health crisis. Click here to Request a Demo Today!

Apr 14

Local Governments Rebuild the Economy

By |2020-04-14T11:21:58-08:00April 14th, 2020|City Clerks, Industry News, Live Streamng, Technology Innovations|0 Comments

Over the last several months there have been many confusing aspects of the staggering current national health crisis. Repairing the economy and stopping the spread of the virus play equal parts in how the crisis has developed.

Local governments will play a leading role in the economic recovery facing the country. Reopening a $22 trillion U.S. economy that has been shut down will require every state to be a part of the solution.

As government officials and business leaders turn their attention to the looming challenge of fighting the virus while trying to reopen businesses, local governments are facing a 20% to 40% reduction in revenues needed to support critical municipal services and to support public safety, among other things.

Congressional delegations are working around the clock to provide federal assistance to replace these lost revenues and to protect the services provided by local governments the impact will be unparalleled and economically staggering.

On the West Coast, the governors of Oregon, Washington, and California announced that they will work in cooperation with each other while still developing their own plan as they keep the health of their communities as the priority. The three governors agree that before any significant business reopening occurs, they need to see a persistent decline in the spread of COVID-19.

In the Northeast, six states calling itself the “COVID corridor” have formed a task force to oversee the reopening of the regional economy. The states include some of the hardest hit by the virus, New York and New Jersey, as well as Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.

Each state will name a public health official, economic development official and chief of staff to serve on a working group, according to reports.

For the states that have yet to be hit hard by the pandemic because of various reasons, their economic forecast may be harder to plan and predict. One aspect of this virus is that it hits densely populated areas harder and those cities tend to have a more robust economic platform. Rebuilding is never just a matter of putting back the structures that were there before the crisis.

While no magic bullet or set process will work everywhere, these case studies illustrate several successful tactics that local governments can use:

  • Identify and build on existing assets.
  • Engage all members of the community to plan for the future.
  • Take advantage of outside funding.
  • Create incentives for redevelopment, and encourage investment in the community.
  • Encourage cooperation within the community and across the region.
  • Support a clean and healthy environment.

As the Federal government works toward a larger solution, local governments will be the ones that roll out the programs that directly affect citizens and working together is key.

One tool a local government can use is AV Capture All solutions that Live-stream meetings and manage agendas so information can get to constituents easily and timely.

Request a demo today! Contact us for more information

 

Apr 10

Develop a Sustainable Plan for Live Streaming Local Government Meetings

By |2020-04-10T11:56:21-08:00April 10th, 2020|City Clerks, Industry News, Live Streamng, Technology Innovations|0 Comments

It now looks like we will be in the social distancing phase for a long time.  The impact of this will be felt in every aspect of our lives for an unknown number of years.

But local governments still have to function and inform citizens so they are adapting to this new normal by using technology.

City governments around the world are taking advantage of technology and are using smart software applications and program interfaces to solve problems and provide information to constituents that are easy to navigate.

The main application that local governments are using is Live Streaming.  And it’s becoming clear that when the pandemic is over and life returns to regular business operations, one element that should remain is live streaming and video recording of government meetings. This should be the new normal instead of just being used for emergencies.

AV Capture All has the solutions that help a City Clerk Live Stream council meetings.

Our governance technology allows City Clerks, who must collaborate with government staff members to set the agenda, goals, and objectives, to easily upload all documents.

AV Capture All offers affordable Live Streaming and meeting management solutions for local government.  Our solutions improve efficiency by streamlining the meeting workflow while promoting transparency and accountability by empowering constituents to access valuable information about their community.  With AV Capture All, government agencies can easily Capture, Manage & Share their meetings online.

When your city or municipality is sharing an important event with constituents, the last thing you want is to have something go wrong and anger your online viewers. AV Capture All offers a technical backup and someone to call if something goes wrong. You need a team on your side that has worked through network issues in all kinds of environments and will troubleshoot issues before they occur.

A city’s website is already home to many resources and tools for residents. Access to live public meetings should be one of those. Don’t make people leave your website to watch.

AV Capture All is here to help you meeting your public mandates and keep citizens informed, click here to learn more about our solutions

Request a demo today!

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