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

8/19/2021

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NCSL Hosts Virtual Hill Briefing on Student-Athlete Compensation | Aug. 16, 2021

On Aug. 16, NCSL hosted a virtual congressional briefing, “State Efforts on Student-Athlete Compensation.” Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee as well as the author of the first student-athlete compensation bill signed into law, and Representative Chuck Martin (R-Ga.), chairman of the House Higher Education Committee, discussed the different issues each of their states had to confront when crafting their bills, how important state action has been, and where the debate is likely to go from here.

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NCSL Hosts Virtual Hill Briefing on Infrastructure | July 8, 2021

On July 8, NCSL hosted a virtual congressional briefing, “21st Century Infrastructure: State Needs and Priorities.” Utah Representative Stephen Handy (R), chair of the Utah House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee, and Representative Aaron Ling Johanson (D), chair of the Hawaii House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce, discussed state priorities for congressional action on infrastructure and how their states have already begun to address investments in transportation, water and broadband.

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NCSL Hosts Virtual Hill Briefing on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) | May 14, 2021

NCSL hosted a virtual congressional briefing, “Temporary Assistance of Needy Families (TANF): State Challenges, Successes and Priorities,” on May 14, with a panel of bipartisan legislators, including Senator Ralph Alvarado (R-Ky.) and Representative Ann Pugh (D-Vt.). The panel discussed successes and challenges implementing TANF in the states, and federal opportunities to improve the program.

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State Actions in Policing Reform | May 6, 2021

In response to public calls for law enforcement reform and in the wake of high-profile officer-involved deaths, governors and state legislatures have taken action to reform law enforcement and policing policies in their states. Legislative interest in policing and police accountability is currently at an unprecedented high. In the last year since George Floyd’s death, every state has introduced legislation addressing law enforcement policy with more than 3,000 bills nationwide. More than 200 bills have been enacted and many more are still working their way through the legislative process with more than 1,700 still pending.

Representative Leslie Herod (D-Colo.) was joined by Andy Wilson, senior advisor for criminal justice policy for Governor Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) and Karhlton Moore, executive director of Ohio’s Office of Criminal Justice Services, as well as NCSL and National Governors Association staff to provide a comprehensive look at policing reform in the states.

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Moving Forward With Immigration Reform: State and Local Priorities | March 19,2021

NCSL was joined by the National Association of Counties (NACo), the National League of Cities (NLC) and the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) to brief hill staffers on state and local priorities in immigration reform. Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos (WA) was joined by Mayor Jorge Elorza (Providence, RI), Commissioner Bill Truex (Charlotte County, FL), (Mayor John Giles (Mesa, AZ), and Trustee Sharmin Shajahan (Hanover Park, IL). The bipartisan panel of state and local elected officials shared insights from their communities and their perspectives on many of the pressing issues in immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship, border management and immigrants in the workforce.

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NCSL Briefs Congress on State-Federal Education Priorities | Feb. 12, 2021

Austin Reid, director of the NCSL Education Committee was joined by Delaware Senate President Pro Tempore David Sokola (D) and Utah Senate Majority Whip Ann Millner (R) to provide a virtual Hill briefing to Congress on how states are responding to education challenges under the COVID-19 pandemic and what federal actions would be most beneficial to states.

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Importance of Addressing Unemployment Insurance and Trust Fund Solvency | Dec. 9, 2020

NCSL, along with the National Governors Association (NGA) and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, organized a congressional briefing to discuss the importance of addressing unemployment insurance and trust fund solvency in a stimulus package. Senator Blake Tillery (R), chair of the Georgia Senate Appropriations Committee was a featured speaker.

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Briefing on Uses of Coronavirus Relief Funds | Dec. 7, 2020

NCSL, NGA, the National League of Cities and the National Association of Counties joined forces in a virtual Capitol Hill briefing to highlight the use of the Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) by state and local governments and the need for additional flexible funding. Senator Bo Watson (R), chair of the Tennessee Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee, shared how Tennessee allocated its share of the CRF to provide unemployment relief, workforce development and PPE supplies. At the same time NCSL and the other organization involved in the briefing pushed out examples on Twitter of states uses of CRF dollars.

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Relief and Revenues | Aug. 3-5, 2020

NCSL hosted a three-part Relief and Revenues Facebook video series to discuss the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on state finances. Read NCSL’s blog on the event here.

Aug. 3: Mandy Rafool, director of NCSL’s fiscal program and Shelby Kerns from the National Association of State Budget Officers discussed the condition of state budgets and COVID-19 spending.

Aug. 4: Senator Blake Tillery (R), chair of the Georgia Senate Appropriations Committee and Georgia Representative Terry England (R), chair of the Georgia House Appropriations Committee provided an update on the Georgia budget.

Aug. 5:  Nevada Senator Mo Denis (D), president pro tem, provided an update on the Nevada budget and the need for additional flexible federal relief to combat COIVD-19.

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Federal Medical Assistance Percentage Briefing | July 29, 2020

NCSL, NGA and other national organizations representing state and local groups hosted a briefing that highlighted the need for an additional 6.2 percentage point increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) in a COVID-19 response bill. The briefing was a follow-up to a letter the Big 7, joined by over 160 other groups, sent to congressional leadership earlier this summer advocating for an FMAP increase and requesting the Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Rule be rescinded.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

Resources
  • PDF Presentation | Intersection with Traffic Incident Management, Senator David Marsden
  • Blog | "Using TIM to Minimize Traffic Delays"

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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