D.C. Fly-In: Giving States a Voice


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State Fiscal Leaders Provided Virtual Briefing on Fiscal Conditions in the States  | June 4, 2020

Since the global outbreak of COVID-19, state legislatures have grappled with their changing economies. State policymakers have had to move quickly to ensure agencies and local governments can respond to the pandemic.

Senator W. Briggs Hopson III, Chair of the Mississippi Senate Appropriations Committee and state Representative Marvin L. Abney (RI), Chair of the Rhode Island House Committee on Finance provided perspectives on fiscal conditions in their states brought on by COVID-19 and the need for additional funding and funding flexibility for states in the next stimulus package for Senate Appropriations Committee and Senate Finance Committee staff.


Showcasing State Leadership in Privacy and Consumer Protection  | March 5-6, 2020

Senator David Carlucci (R-N.Y.) visited Washington, D.C., to help NCSL showcase state leadership in privacy and consumer protection. Carlucci met with both majority and minority staff from the Senate Commerce and House Energy and Commerce Committees, which have both released bills or proposed legislation on privacy. States have introduced hundreds of privacy bills in 2019 and 2020, including comprehensive and targeted legislation, as California’s Consumer Protection Act enters its first months of implementation.


A Green Light for Hemp? | Feb. 5, 2020

Representative Jeni Arndt (D-Colo.), co-chair of NCSL's Agriculture Task Force, took part in a panel discussion Wednesday on the challenges and opportunities facing the hemp industry at the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research Foster our Future meeting this week in Washington, D.C. The panel focused on a plethora of issues the young industry is up against, following the legalization of hemp as part of the 2018 Farm Bill.

NCSL strongly advocated for Congress to include such language in the Farm Bill, following the adoption of an amendment to NCSL’s National Agriculture policy directive at the 2017 Legislative Summit in Boston.


The States’ Prescription for Controlling Drug Prices | Jan. 31, 2020

Representative Tom Oliverson (R-Texas) and Delegate Bonnie Cullison (D-Md.) joined staff from NCSL's Washington, D.C., office to meet with members of Congress, congressional committee staff and intergovernmental partners at the Department of Health and Human Services. They discussed actions states are taking to address prescription drug pricing and transparency. Oliverson and Cullison’s visit also included a briefing for congressional offices, the administration and state and local partner organizations, which allowed the legislators to share their successes and challenges in passing prescription drug-related legislation. Both Oliverson and Cullison brought a variety of expertise on prescription drug pricing, transparency, manufacturing and related policy.


For Best Procedural Practices, Congress Looks to States | Dec. 5, 2019

When Congress needed the state perspective, it reached out to NCSL’s Natalie Wood, director of NCSL’s Center for Legislative Strengthening, testified Thursday on the “Rules and Procedures in the U.S. House: A look at Reform Efforts and State Best Practices.”


Traffic Incident Management's Importance to Minimizing Traffic Delays | Nov. 14, 2019

Traffic incident management, or TIM, isn’t the most common of transportation safety terms, but it’s gaining acceptance as an important part of an efficiently functioning transportation system. So what exactly is TIM? It is a planned and coordinated program process to detect, respond to, and remove traffic incidents and restore traffic capacity as safely and quickly as possible.

Highlighting TIM’s growing importance, the U.S. Department of Transportation held its third annual Senior Executive Transportation and Public Safety Summit (TPSS) on Nov. 14 at the United States Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., featuring a prime-time session on TIM. Representing NCSL at TPSS was Senator Dave Marsden (D-Va.), a member of NCSL’s Natural Resources and Infrastructure Committee. He was joined by Peter Voderberg from the office of Governor Mike DeWine (R-Ohio), representing the National Governors Association, and Councilmember Sean Polster of Warrenton, Va., representing the National League of Cities.

Marsden spoke about how the Virginia Department of Transportation is addressing TIM. Traffic incidents are a key cause of delay in Virginia, responsible for 51% of delays on I-81. He also discussed the technologies and processes that the department uses, including 1,200 traffic cameras and five operations centers. Marsden also spoke about his recent bill, SB 1073, which institutes new rules when shoulders have been temporarily eliminated on certain roadways. It allows drivers involved in fender benders to proceed to the next pull-off area, including an exit ramp, allowing traffic on the roadway to continue.


Federal-State-Local Roles and Perspectives on Immigration | Nov. 14, 2019

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Senator Mo Denis (D-Nev.), a co-chair of NCSL’s Task Force on Immigration and the States, was joined by County Commissioner Bill Truex (Charlotte County, Fla.), the chair of NACo’s Immigration Task Force at the Bipartisan Policy Center on Nov. 14 to be featured speakers in its podcast “This Week in Immigration.” The podcast focused on a discussion of Denis’ and Truex’s views regarding ways in which immigration affects states and counties and ideas on how legislators in D.C. can advance federal immigration reform that meets the needs of state and local communities. The podcast will be available on Dec. 3.

The podcast session was followed by a visit to the White House to learn more about the administration’s direction on federal immigration reform and to share NCSL’s and NACo’s perspectives on the state and local impact of proposed immigration policies. or Denis and  Truex met with Theodore Wold who serves as the special assistant to the president for domestic policy and works on immigration issues.

Finally, Denis and Truex met with U.S. House Judiciary majority staff to learn more about pending federal legislation that would provide a process for earned legalization for certified agricultural workers.

The Bipartisan Policy Center tweeted the "This Week in Immigration" podcast episode.


Occupational Licensing Breakfast Briefing | Nov. 13, 2019 

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NCSL, joined by the National Governors’ Association Center for Best Practices, and the Council of State Governments, hosted a breakfast briefing on Nov. 13, featuring Representative Norm Thurston (R-Utah) and Representative Robert Brooks (R-Wis.). The briefing sought to educate members of Congress about NCSL’s occupational licensing work under its federal grant with the U.S. Department of Labor.

Thurston and Brooks are from two of the 16 states that are participating in the grant. These states are working to identify solutions and best practices to occupational licensing challenges and are focusing on four vulnerable populations: the formerly incarcerated, military spouses, immigrants with work authorization and unemployed and dislocated workers.


State and Local Cybersecurity Day on the Hill | Oct. 23, 2019

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October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and there are several bipartisan federal legislative proposals that NCSL supports that would provide grants to states to bolster cyber resiliency.

To highlight state efforts around cybersecurity and to support these federal bills, NCSL sponsored a breakfast briefing featuring Senator Thomas Alexander (R-S.C.), a co-chair of NCSL’s Executive Task Force on Cybersecurity. Alexander was joined by representatives from the National Governors Association, the National Association of State Information Officers and the National Emergency Management Association for a panel discussion. The panelists provided a general overview of roles and responsibilities, and discussed challenges and barriers states and localities face in cybersecurity and how states have been responding to ransomware attacks across the country.

Following the breakfast briefing, Alexander met with officials from the Department of Homeland Security to discuss how NCSL can partner and engage with federal cybersecurity experts to strengthen state systems.