Capitol to Capitol
An Information Service of NCSL's Standing Committees

Volume 20  Issue 2 - January 4, 2013


DISASTER AID ON DECK

Today the House passed its vote on an initial disaster relief bill to aid homeowners and businesses affected by Hurricane Sandy. Enactment of the disaster supplemental package, H.R. 1, faced concerns on non-disaster related funding. Last Friday, the Senate passed the full $60 billion measure by a vote of 61-33. The  first vote in the House provides $9.7 billion in additional borrowing authority for the National Flood Insurance Program, with the $50 billion remainder to be brought to the House floor later in January. The Senate is expected to vote on the scaled-down aid package today as well. A comprehensive explanation of the funding measure from the Office of Management and Budget is available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/supplemental__december_7_2012_hurricane_sandy_funding_needs.pdf.pdf. NCSL staff contacts: Jennifer Arguinzoni (disaster assistance), James Ward (flood insurance)


FEDERAL REGULATORY AGENDA RELEASED

Regulatory priorities for federal health care reform, federal financial institutions reform, various environmental initiatives and numerous others comprise the “Unified Regulatory Agenda and Regulatory Plan” released by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget on Dec. 21, 2012. The plan covers submissions by cabinet departments, other executive agencies and independent agencies. It is accessible at: http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgendaMain. NCSL staff contacts: Michael Bird, Jeff Hurley


SENATE FOLDS ONLINE GAMING LEGISLATION

Federal efforts to preempt state authority over online gaming stalled at the end of the 112th Congress, leaving states the ability to allow or prohibit internet gambling by their residents. A ruling by the Department of Justice (DOJ) at the end of 2011 clarified that intra-state online gaming is lawful, opening up the opportunity for a handful of states to introduce legislation authorizing forms of internet gaming within their states. Earlier this fall, the Senate leaked a proposal that would amend DOJ’s ruling by allowing the federal government to regulate online poker and imposing limitations on online lotteries for states. Senate leadership has vowed to introduce similar legislation in the 113th Congress. Stay tuned. NCSL staff Contacts: James Ward, Jeff Hurley, Max Behlke


FISCAL CLIFF UPDATE

On Thursday the president signed into law the American Taxpayer Relief Act (H.R. 8), legislation addressing the fiscal cliff. Up next is the nation’s statutory debt limit in February, while in March sequestration will begin and Congress must address federal spending for the remainder of FY 2013. An NCSL summary of H.R. 8 is available at: http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/budget/ncsl-summary-of-the-american-taxpayer-relief-act.aspx. NCSL staff contacts: Michael Bird, Jeff Hurley


UNREASONABLE SEARCH OR NOT?

NCSL has signed onto a State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) amicus brief in Maryland v. King, a U.S. Supreme Court case challenging state and federal laws that allow for the collection and analysis of DNA without a warrant from individuals arrested and charged with serious crimes. Twenty-eight states and the federal government have adopted DNA arrest laws. The SLLC brief is accessible at: http://www.statelocallc.org/storage/pdf/Maryland_v._King_final_brief_as_printed.pdf. Please proceed to NCSL’s DNA arrest laws web page for further information: http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/justice/dna-laws-database-topic-summaries.aspx. NCSL staff contact: Susan Parnas Frederick, SLLC staff contact: Lisa Soronen


APPROPRIATE TAKINGS OR NOT?

NCSL has signed onto a State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) amicus brief in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District, a U.S. Supreme Court case exploring two “takings” questions. First, does a “taking” occur in violation of the Fifth Amendment when state or local governments stipulate that a permit can be issued only if mitigation measures are performed on properties the landowner doesn’t own? Second, can a “taking” occur if the landowner doesn’t perform the asked-for mitigation and the government doesn’t issue a permit? Access the Florida Supreme Court opinion and the amicus brief respectively at: http://www2.bloomberglaw.com/public/document/St_Johns_River_Water_Mgmt_Dist_v_Koontz_77_So_3d_1220_Fla_2012_Co; http://www.statelocallc.org/storage/pdf/Koontz_v._St_Johns_as%20printed.pdf. NCSL staff contact: Susan Parnas Frederick, SLLC contact: Lisa Soronen