Capitol to Capitol | Feb. 1, 2021

2/1/2021

Biden Signs Additional Executive Orders

President Joe Biden signed several orders last week, including actions to increase the federal cost share for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance, redress housing policies, implement environmental and energy regulations and address diversity, equity and inclusion. NCSL is tracking these actions. Read more.

NCSL Contact: Molly Ramsdell

Biden Administration Prepares to Halt Opioid Prescribing Guidelines

The guidelines were drafted by the Trump administration and would have allowed more physicians to prescribe the opioid-recovery drug buprenorphine. Physicians would have been exempted from the “X” waiver, a requirement mandated by Congress that physicians undergo a day of training to prescribe buprenorphine. Some legal experts warned that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would lack authority to issue guidelines allowing providers to avoid these congressional requirements. Other substance use disorder stakeholders have argued flexibility was needed to address increases in opioid overdoses. HHS officials said on condition of anonymity that the agency plans to pursue other prescribing guidelines.

NCSL Contacts: Haley Nicholson and Margaret Wile

Census Data Release Delayed

During NCSL’s census update call, Kathleen Styles, chief of decennial communications and stakeholder relations for the Census Bureau, said states will receive apportionment data from the bureau by April 30. This represents a possible four-month delay, as the data was supposed to be released by Dec. 30. As a result, the data states use for redistricting will not be delivered by the federal statutory deadline of April 1 but may be delayed as late as July 31. In May 2020, NCSL wrote a letter to former Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham expressing concerns about a delay, as some states are constrained by statutory and constitutional requirements for districting and elections. In a subsequent conversation with the Biden administration transition team, NCSL asked for a staggered rollout of the data and for meaningful and frequent communications with states. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Susan Frederick and Wendy Underhill

Federal Stimulus Funds for Education

NCSL is tracking how states are using the Education Stabilization Fund and other stimulus funds to address education challenges amid the pandemic. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Austin Reid and Jocelyn Salguero

House and Senate Democrats Introduce $15 Minimum Wage Bill

The legislation would increase the federal hourly minimum wage to $15 by 2025. The bill would be indexed to inflation and would also phase out the wages below the minimum for tipped workers, youth workers and those with disabilities. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Jon Jukuri and Michael Quillen

Confirmation Hearing Set for Secretary of Education Nominee Miguel Cardona

The hearing will take place on Wednesday, February 3rd, at 10AM ET. It can be viewed here.

NCSL Contacts: Austin Reid and Jocelyn Salguero

In Every Edition

Read the Jan. 25 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