Capitol to Capitol | May 2, 2022

5/2/2022

Going Big on Clean Water, NCSL Podcast on IIJA Water Funding Released

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, or the IIJA, signed by President Joe Biden in November 2021 provided $1.2 trillion for roads, bridges, highways, broadband, water projects and more. The $55 billion included for water projects is the largest single investment in water infrastructure in the nation’s history. On the podcast, NCSL staff break down what’s in the bill, how states will access the money and some of the challenges, including matching funds in some areas, and hear from the Association of State Drinking Water administrators about new money provided under the bill to address lead service lines and emerging contaminants. This is one of several podcasts this year focusing on the IIJA. Other shows will focus on energy, roads bridges and transit and the expansion of broadband. To listen, visit NCSL’s webpage here.

NCSL Contacts: Kristen Hildreth and Ben Husch

USDOT Unveils New Program for States

The Federal Highway Administration released guidance and other details for the new state Carbon Reduction Program (CRP) that will provide nearly $6.5 billion through formula grants to states for projects aimed at reducing emissions from the transportation sector. The Carbon Reduction Program will fund a wide range of projects designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from on-road highway sources—from installing infrastructure to supporting the electrification of freight vehicles or personal cars, to constructing Bus Rapid Transit corridors, to facilitating micro-mobility and biking. Under the CRP, states must also develop carbon reduction strategies in consultation with Metropolitan Planning Organizations to identify projects and strategies tailored to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in their states, although states and localities may begin using the CRP funds even before plans are developed and reviewed. States should be aware that about two-thirds of the funds it receives are required to be sub-allocated to local governments based on population, though the remaining one-third is up to states. Projects do require a 20% state share. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Ben Husch and Kristen Hildreth

DOE Seeks Feedback from States on New Formula Grant in Infrastructure Law

The Department of Energy (DOE) formally released a request for information on how to implement the new $2.3 billion formula grant program for states included in the IIJA to improve the all-hazards resilience of their electric grid against wildfires, extreme weather and other natural disasters. Later this year, the DOE plans to allocate funding annually through grants to states according to a formula that includes such parameters as population, land area and the historical precedence for experiencing disruptive events as well as a required application to the DOE. State by state allocations can be found here.

NCSL Contacts: Ben Husch and Kristen Hildreth

FDA Releases Proposed Rules Prohibiting Menthol Cigarettes and Flavored Cigars

The agency is seeking comment on, among other things, “how it can best make clear the respective roles of the agency and state and local law enforcement.” The comment period will be open from May 4 to July 5. The agency also will convene public listening sessions  on June 13 and June 15.  Read more.

NCSL Contact: Molly Ramsdell

White House Releases New Strategy for Countering Wayward Drones

The White House released a new plan for addressing unmanned aircraft systems threats. Through the Domestic Counter-Unmanned Aircraft Systems National Action Plan, the administration is attempting to expand where protection can be provided, who is authorized to take action, and how it can be accomplished lawfully. The plan seeks to achieve this legitimate expansion while safeguarding the airspace, communications spectrums, individual privacy, civil liberties and civil rights. To achieve this balance, the administration is putting forward legislation to accomplish the recommendations included in the plan. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Ben Husch and Kristen Hildreth

Department of Education Expands Second Chance Pell Program

The department invited 73 higher education institutions to participate in the program, bringing the total of participant to 200 institutions in nearly all 50 states. Institutions may begin accessing Pell Grants as early as July 1, 2022. Starting July 1, 2023, the department will fully implement a recently passed law that allows incarcerated students to access Pell Grants permanently. Read more.  

NCSL Contact: Austin Reid and Patrick Lawler

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Read the April 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 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 | Communications, Financial Services and Interstate Commerce