Capitol to Capitol | July 27, 2020


COVID-19 Proposal Does not Include Additional Flexible Funding for States

The Senate introduced Monday afternoon a package comprising the next round of pandemic response. The approximately $1 trillion package does not provide any additional flexible state aid but allows for 25% of the remaining funds from a state’s Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) allotment to be used for lost revenue after first certifying that 25% of the CRF funds were disbursed to local governments. The series of bills also contains paycheck protection program forgiveness, another round of stimulus checks, an extension of unemployment benefits, resources to reopen schools, and expanded virus testing funds. A reminder that this is just the Senate’s starting point for negotiations with the House, which passed its $3 trillion Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act or HEROES Act in May and contained $500 billion for state governments.  Immediately after introducing the legislation the Senate went directly into meetings with the House to begin negotiations. Now is the time to contact your congressional delegation to voice your state’s need for additional flexible fiscal assistance. NCSL issued a statement on the Senate package and continues to advocate for additional flexible funds for states. Read more.  

NCSL Contact: Erlinda Doherty

FY 2021 Appropriations Update

The House passed its first package of regular FY 2021 appropriations bills providing funding for Agriculture-FDA, Interior-Environment, Military Construction-VA and State-Foreign Operations. The House will act on a second appropriations “mini-bus” this week that would fund Defense, Commerce-Justice-Science, Energy and Water, Financial Services, Homeland Security, Labor-HHS-Education, and Transportation-HUD. Read more.

NCSL Contact: Erlinda Doherty

REAL ID Modernization Act Unanimously Approved

The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee unanimously approved the REAL ID Modernization Act (S 4133) from Senators Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.), the committee’s chair and ranking member, respectively, along with Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). NCSL, the National Governors Association and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators collaborated with committee staff over the six months prior to the bill’s introduction. The measure includes many of our requests, and the groups commended the committee on its approval. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Ben Husch and Kristen Hildreth

Great American Outdoors Act on Its Way to President

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Great American Outdoors Act, 310-107, and sent it to the president, who is expected to sign it based on his Twitter support. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Ben Husch and Kristen Hildreth

Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act 

Last week, the Senate passed with an 86-14 vote, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021. The vote comes days after the House passed its version of the annual bill. The chambers will now have to reconcile their bills and craft a new deal before sending it to President Donald Trump, who has already signaled he would veto the House-passed legislation. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Jon Jukuri and Michael Quillen

How States Are Using CARES Act Funds to Support K-12 Education

NCSL’s Education team has created a tracker on how states are implementing the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund made available through the CARES Act. An accompanying blog discusses common themes in the states’ use of their 10% set-aside allocation of the CARES Act ESSER fund. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Jocelyn Salguero and Austin Reid

HHS Distributes $10 Billion in Second Round of COVID-19 Hospital Funding

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it will distribute the second round of funding from the Provider Relief Fund, through the CARES Act, to more than 1,000 hospitals across the country that have been severely impacted by COVID-19. In June, HHS also announced the opening of the application period for the distribution of approximately $15 billion for state Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Programs (CHIP) that did not receive funding from earlier distributions. Applications for this funding have been extended to Aug. 3, 2020.

NCSL Contacts: Haley Nicolson and Margaret Wile

CMS Report on Value-Based Payments

The recently released report provides data on the effectiveness of the value-based payment system, which was created under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015. The report’s data determines provider payment rate adjustments for 2020 by using 2018 data. Of the participating providers, 98% of eligible clinicians avoided negative payments for 2020. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Haley Nicolson and Margaret Wile

FDA Issues Draft Guidance on Cannabis-Related Clinical Research

The guidance describes the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) current thinking related to clinical research for the development of drugs containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds. The document covers sources of cannabis for clinical research, information on quality considerations and recommendations for calculating tetrahydrocannabinol levels. It also introduces FDA regulatory concepts to stakeholders who may not be familiar with the agency and its authorities. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Haley Nicolson and Margaret Wile

HUD Terminates 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule

Issued in 2015 during the Obama administration, the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule required cities and towns that received federal funding to examine local housing patterns for racial inequities and design a strategic plan to address the potential bias. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Jon Jukuri and Michael Quillen

Supreme Court Roundup: Part 1

The U.S. Supreme Court had an exciting term, with groundbreaking cases and a pivot to virtual oral arguments. Tune in, at 3 p.m. EST Tuesday to this popular program to hear Lisa Soronen, chief counsel and executive director of the State and Local Legal Center, discuss the Supreme Court cases that will have the greatest state impact. This will be the first of two distinct programs and will focus on the biggest cases decided this term. 

Register for Part 1 on July 28 and Part 2 on Aug. 4.

NCSL Contact: Lisa SoronenState & Local Legal Center

In Every Edition

  • NCSL Recent Letters to the Hill and Blogs: Read NCSL’s most recent correspondence to members of Congress and the administration, and state-federal blogs.

Read the July 20 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 and Human Services
  • Austin Reid | 202-624-8678 | Education