Capitol to Capitol | Aug. 16, 2021

8/16/2021

Department of Labor Announces Additional Guidance on Unemployment Insurance

On Aug. 11, the Department of Labor released additional guidance on state utilization of the nearly $2 billion allocated as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to modernize the unemployment insurance system to prevent fraud, promote equitable access, ensure timely benefits and reduce backlogs. Administered largely through the department’s Employment and Training Administration, ARPA fraud grants totaling $140 million will be awarded to states for fraud prevention measures. Another $260 million in equity grants will be awarded to improve outreach and customer service processes. The department will also allocate $100 million in previously unobligated CARES Act funds to combat fraud and implement cybersecurity measures. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Jon Jukuri and Deanna Ross

Department of Education Updates Maintenance of Equity Guidance

The updated guidance offers additional details on how states can demonstrate compliance with the state maintenance of equity provisions. The update says school districts that certify they are not facing overall budget cuts do not have to comply with local maintenance of equity requirements for fiscal year 2022. The department will invite public comment on the maintenance of equity provisions but did not provide a timeline for that process. Read more.

NCSL Contact: Austin Reid

Department of Education Says States Can Regulate Student Loan Servicers

A proposed notice clarifies that while federal law preempts state regulation in certain narrow areas, states can regulate student loan servicers in many other ways without violating the federal Higher Education Act. The new interpretation supersedes a 2018 notice from the Trump administration, which argued that states have no oversight authority over student loan servicers that are contracted through the federal student loan program. Read more.

NCSL Contact: Austin Reid

Funding to Improve Rural Health Care

Nearly $90 million is available for rural communities to address opioid and substance use disorders and to improve access to maternal and obstetrics care. Read more.

NCSL Contact: Haley Nicholson

In Every Edition

Read the Aug. 10 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 
  • Kristen Hildreth | 202-624-3597 | Natural Resources and Infrastructure 
  • Jon Jukuri  | 202-624-8663 | Labor, Economic Development and International Trade
  • Haley Nicholson | 202-624-8662 | Health and Human Services
  • Austin Reid | 202-624-8678 | Education