Capitol to Capitol | April 26, 2021


U.S. House of Representatives Passes Bipartisan Marijuana Banking Bill

The House of Representatives passed legislation that would allow banks and other institutions to provide financial services to cannabis businesses that operate in states where cannabis has been legalized without fear of federal penalties. The bill was approved with a bipartisan vote of 321-101 and now heads to the Senate, where a companion bill has 32 total co-sponsors, including seven Republicans. Thirty-six states have legalized the use of cannabis for medical purposes while 17 states allow recreational adult use. Read more.

Access NCSL resources on state medical marijuana laws here.

NCSL Contacts: Abbie Gruwell and Tres York

Senate Republicans Unveil $568 Billion Infrastructure Plan

Senate Republicans unveiled their own infrastructure plan last week, focusing on roads and bridges, public transit systems, rail, drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, water storage, ports and inland waterways, airports, broadband, and safety. On release, Republicans emphasized that any federal funding should be partnered with spending from state and local governments and should encourage private sector investments and utilization of financing tools. Key principles include avoiding one-size-fits-all requirements, streamlining permitting processes, ensuring that all users of infrastructure contribute to the generation of revenue, and preserving the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), including extending the cap on the state and local tax deduction.  Read more.

NCSL Contact: Kristen Hildreth

Department of Education Releases Guidance on Maintenance of Effort

The maintenance of effort (MOE) guidance covers state education spending from fiscal year 2020 through FY 2023 and outlines the process and considerations for applying for MOE waivers. This guidance replaces the CARES Act MOE guidance from May 2020. The department is expected to release separate guidance on the maintenance of equity requirements in the American Rescue Plan.Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Austin Reid and Jocelyn Salguero

Department of Education Releases the ARP ESSER Implementation Plan Application

States must submit their American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ARP ESSER) implementation plans to the Department of Education by June 7, 2021, to access the remaining one-third of the ESSER III funds. Last month, states received two-thirds of the ARP K-12 funds through the ESSER program. Read more

NCSL Contacts: Austin Reid and Jocelyn Salguero

Plans Released for Distributing $800M to Support Students Experiencing Homelessness

$800 million was set aside from the American Rescue Plan Act to support the identification, enrollment and school participation of students experiencing homelessness. One-fourth of the funds will be made available to states immediately, with the remaining funds allocated as soon as June. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Austin Reid and Jocelyn Salguero

Details on Tax Credits for Paid Leave in the American Rescue Plan

The Treasury Department released several documents providing more details on the tax credits for paid leave in the American Rescue Plan. Eligible employers, such as businesses and tax-exempt organizations with fewer than 500 employees and certain governmental employers, can now receive a tax credit for providing paid time off for each employee receiving the vaccine and for any time needed to recover from the vaccine. Eligible employers include governmental employers other than the federal government and any agency or instrumentality of the federal government that is not an organization described in section 501(c)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code. 

Fact sheet around employer eligibility. Snapshot on paid leave tax credits.

NCSL Contact: Jon Jukuri

HHS Releases Strategies for Helping Older Adults and People with Disabilities Access Vaccines

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Administration for Community Living released a document with examples and best practices for states, municipalities, community-based partners and others who are working to help older adults and people with disabilities get vaccinated for COVID-19. These resources are in addition to the president’s “National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness” and an executive order to ensure an equitable COVID-19 response. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Haley Nicholson and Margarite Wile

HHS Proposed Rulemaking on Title X

The Department of Health and Human Services is proposing to revise rules issued on March 4, 2019, that established standards for compliance by family planning services projects authorized by Title X under the Public Health Service Act. The proposed rule includes several modifications to the 2019 rule, including rules to ensure access to equitable, affordable, client-centered, quality family planning services, especially to low-income individuals. The notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) is open for comments for 30 days as of April 15, 2021. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Haley Nicholson and Margarite Wile

Department of Agriculture Extends Free Meals for All Students Through June 2022

Free meals will be available to all students through the Summer Food Service Program and the Seamless Summer Option. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Austin Reid and Jocelyn Salguero

In Every Edition

Read the April 19 Capitol to Capitol.

NCSL's Advocacy in Washington

NCSL’s Washington staff advocates on behalf of state legislatures before Congress, the White House and federal agencies in accord with the policy directives and resolutions that are recommended by the NCSL Standing Committees and adopted by the full conference at the annual NCSL Legislative Summit Business Meeting. As a result of the advocacy that is guided by these policies’ positions, NCSL is recognized as a formidable lobbying force in state-federal relations.

NCSL Staff in Washington, D.C.

  • Molly Ramsdell | 202-624-3584 | Director
  • Erlinda Doherty | 202-624-8698 | Budgets and Revenue
  • Susan Frederick | 202-624-3566 | Law, Criminal Justice, and Public Safety
  • Abbie Gruwell 202-624-3569 | Commerce and Financial Services
  • Ben Husch | 202-624-7779 | Natural Resources and Infrastructure 
  • Jon Jukuri  | 202-624-8663 | Labor, Economic Development and International Trade
  • Haley Nicholson | 202-624-8662 | Health 
  • Margaret Wile | 202-624-8171 | Human Services
  • Austin Reid | 202-624-8678 | Education