Capitol to Capitol | June 15, 2020


NCSL Virtual Fly-In, Capitol Hill Briefing: Fiscal Health of States

NCSL hosted a virtual briefing for Senate congressional staff as senators consider the next phase of the federal response to the pandemic. The briefing featured Mississippi Senator W. Briggs Hopson III (R), chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Rhode Island Representative Marvin L. Abney (D), chair of the House Committee on Finance and a member of NCSL’s Executive Committee. Watch now.  

NCSL Contacts: Erlinda Doherty and Susan Frederick

Amid Next Stimulus Discussions, House Plans to Take Up FY 2021 Spending Bills

The House Appropriations Committee is expected to hold subcommittee and full committee markups of fiscal year 2021 spending bills starting the week of July 6, with floor votes scheduled for July 20. The House had planned to focus on FY 2021 appropriations in June, but lawmakers were consumed with their response to COIVD-19.

NCSL Contact: Erlinda Doherty

Justice in Policing Act Introduced in Congress

House and Senate Democrats introduced the Justice in Policing Act. The bill, which will likely receive a House vote at the end of June, would:

  • Curtail the doctrine of “qualified immunity” for police activity, opening the door to more criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits.
  • Reduce the threshold for defining police misconduct from “willfully” violating constitutional rights to doing so with knowing or reckless disregard.
  • Weaken the qualified immunity for civil lawsuits that broadly shields police officers from being liable for damages for rights violations.
  • Ban chokeholds like the one used by police in the death of George Floyd, as well as no-knock warrants, which led to the death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky., in March.
  • Designate lynching as a federal crime for the first time.
  • Create a national registry of police violations.
  • Require federal officers to wear body cameras.
  • Place new limits on federal funding for local and state police, requiring bias training and the use of de-escalation tactics for grants to be approved.

A fact sheet is available.

Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) is leading an effort in the Senate for a Republican-backed proposal–the Justice Act. The text, not yet released, is rumored to tie federal law enforcement funding for state and local governments to de-escalation training requirements, use of force reporting requirements, no-knock reporting requirements and increased funding for police body cameras.

NCSL Contacts: Susan Frederick and Lucia Bragg

U.S. Department of Labor Awards Additional $17 Million in Dislocated Worker Grants

The most recent DOL announcement on a new wave of funding, bringing the total awarded to date to $238 million, may be provided to eligible participants for employment and training activities, in addition to providing re-employment services to eligible individuals affected by mass layoffs. An additional $110 million remains to be distributed.

NCSL Contacts: Jon Jukuri and Michael Quillen

HUD Allocates Remaining $2.96 Billion in CARES Act funding to Homeless Populations

The final wave of funding, $1.9 billion, provided through Emergency Solutions Grants, supports communities with high homelessness populations and can be used to:

  • Make more emergency shelters available.
  • Operate existing emergency shelters by providing food, rent, security, maintenance and other supplies.
  • Provide hotel/motel vouchers for homeless families and individuals.
  • Provide essential services to homeless individuals including childcares, education services, employment services, legal services and substance use treatment services.
  • Provide rapid rehousing initiatives designed to prevent individuals from becoming homeless.
NCSL Contacts: Jon Jukuri and Michael Quillen

DeVos Announces Student Eligibility Rule for CARES Higher Education Emergency Aid

The new regulation would limit eligibility to students who qualify for federal financial aid. The interim final rule reflects the department’s April 21 guidance, which would restrict aid for undocumented students and others who don’t qualify for federal student aid. The rule will take effect immediately after it is published in the Federal Register, which the department said would happen on June 15. The department said that it would not retroactively enforce the new rule against colleges. The agency will also accept public comments on the policy for 30 days.

NCSL Contacts: Austin Reid and Jocelyn Salguero

In Every Edition

Read the June 8 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