Capitol to Capitol | April 5, 2022

4/5/2022

NCSL and Others Lend Support to the LIFELINE Act

NCSL has joined other national organizations representing state and local governments as well as close to 80 housing stakeholders to support the LIFELINE Act, or Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Financing Enabling Long-Term Investment in Neighborhood Excellence Act (HR 7078).

Currently, dollars made available through the American Rescue Plan State and Local Fiscal Relief Fund must be obligated by Dec. 31, 2024, and expended by Dec. 31, 2026. The LIFELINE Act would allow the fiscal relief funds used for housing credit development to be considered “expended” as required for compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements.

The bipartisan legislation was introduced in the House in March by Reps. Alma Adams (D-N.C.) and David Rouzer (R-N.C.), and was drafted in consultation with the Treasury Department, authorizing committees for the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund and housing stakeholders. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and a Republican co-sponsor are expected to introduce companion legislation in the Senate. Read more.

More than 20 states have declared their intention to use fiscal relief fund dollars to offset rising costs in developing housing units.

Information on the bill: LIFELINE Act Bill Text

State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund fact sheet: NCSHA SLFRF 2022 FAQ Sheet

NCSL Contacts: Jon Jukuri and Deanna Ross

House Passes Bill to Legalize Cannabis

On Friday, the House passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE Act) marking the first time marijuana decriminalization has passed through a congressional chamber. The MORE Act, in its current form, would decriminalize cannabis, remove cannabis from the federal controlled substance schedules, expunge certain nonviolent cannabis related offenses and reinvest in persons and communities adversely affected by the war on drugs. Passage of the bill would end the decades-long legal conflict between the federal government and states that choose to legalize medical and recreational marijuana. The bill had wide Democrat support but limited Republican support in the House, an issue that will follow the bill on its way to the Senate. NCSL supports federal legislation that allows states to create a marijuana policy that works for their communities. Access NCSL's marijuana policy statement here.

NCSL Contacts: Susan Frederick and Nicole Ezeh

Senate Bipartisan Agreement Announced on Additional COVID Funding

The supplemental appropriations package would provide $10 billion for domestic COVID response. The bill also provides additional flexibility in the uses of the American Rescue Plan’s Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund. The bill does not include NCSL-opposed language that would have rescinded unobligated state fiscal recovery fund dollars. Votes could occur as early as the end of the week. Read more.

NCSL Contact: Molly Ramsdell

Additional Funding and Changes to Medicaid’s ‘Money Follows the Person’ Program Announced

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will make available more than $110 million to expand access to home and community-based services through Medicaid’s Money Follows the Person (MFP) program. More than 20 states and territories not currently participating in the program can receive up to $5 million to support initial planning and implementation to get started. For states already participating in the program, CMS announced that it is increasing the reimbursement rate for “supplemental services.” These services will now be 100% federally funded, with no state share. Read more.

NCSL Contact: Molly Ramsdell

Department of Education Announces Additional Funding for Employing People With Disabilities

The Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration announced $167 million in additional grant funding for multiple state projects to assist individuals with disabilities currently employed in or contemplating subminimum wage employment. The funding is to engage with state vocational rehabilitation agencies so workers may obtain competitive integrated employment. States must apply by June 21, 2022. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Austin Reid and Patrick Lawler

Department of Education Announces Accountability Policy for Private College Owners

The guidance would hold companies with at least a 50% interest in nonpublic colleges financially responsible for liabilities arising from closed school loan discharges and borrower defense to repayment claims. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Austin Reid and Patrick Lawler

Report Estimates 1.1 Million Students Did Not Attend School in 2020-21

A Government Accountability Office survey of teachers estimated that nearly half of public-school teachers had at least one registered student who never attended class. High school teachers were the most affected, with nearly two-thirds (65%) having at least one student who never “showed up,” compared with less than half of teachers in grades three to eight (45%) or kindergarten to second grade (31%). Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Austin Reid and Patrick Lawler

In Every Edition

Read the March 28 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 policy 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 | Budget and Revenue |  Health and Human Services
  • Patrick Lawler | 202-624-8697 | Budget and Revenue
  • Susan Frederick | 202-624-3566 | Law, Criminal Justice, and Public Safety
  • Ben Husch | 202-624-7779 | Natural Resources and Infrastructure
  • Kristen Hildreth | 202-624-3597 | Natural Resources and Infrastructure 
  • Jon Jukuri  | 202-624-8663 | Labor, Economic Development and International Trade
  • Austin Reid | 202-624-8678 | Education
  • Erlinda Doherty | 202-624-8698 | Commerce and Financial Services