Capitol to Capitol | May 31, 2022

5/31/2022

NCSL Executive Committee Adopts Interim Resolution in Support of the Improving Intergovernmental Cooperation and Reducing Duplication Act of 2022  

The bipartisan legislation (S 3890) requires the Office of Management and Budget to publish a strategic plan to “improve cooperation between and support greater harmonization, effectiveness, and the burdens and costs between the federal government and state, local, territorial, and tribal governments.”

Under the bill, state, local, territorial and tribal entities would have the option “without being coerced or required” to use capabilities only available to the federal government.” One example of a capability might be information technology products and platforms.

NCSL staff in D.C. worked to have NCSL and the other national organizations representing state and local governments listed as stakeholders to be consulted with under an amended version of the bill, which is expected to be introduced in June. Read more.

NCSL Contact: Molly Ramsdell

Biden Signs Executive Order on Police Reform

On May 25, President Joe Biden issued an executive order aimed at improving accountability in policing. The order comes on the two-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd and acknowledges the inequities in the criminal justice system as applied to people of color and urges strengthening the trust between law enforcement officers and the public. It states administration policy to “commit to new practices in law enforcement recruitment, hiring, promotion, and retention, as well as training, oversight, and accountability.” The order calls for:

  • The U.S. attorney general to issue guidance to state and localities regarding how to conduct in-custody death investigations.
  • Increased training for federal law enforcement officers to help them identify civil rights violations and technical assistance to states in pattern and practice police misconduct cases.
  • Mandates the creation of a working group to examine hiring and retention policies for federal law enforcement and the establishment of a National Law Enforcement Accountability Database within 240 days, and requires states and localities to contribute information to this database.
  • An increase in policies and training on use of force and “no-knock” entries.
  • Action to address the transfer of military equipment to law enforcement agencies and the use of body-worn cameras.
  • Action to address jail conditions, alternatives to arrest and incarceration, coordinated reentry initiatives and collection of comprehensive criminal justice statistics.

The order also acknowledges current funding for policing initiatives is insufficient. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Susan Frederick and Nicole Ezeh

Federal Student Aid Extends Waivers for FAFSA Verification Requirements

Federal Student Aid will maintain verification requirements that strictly focus on identity and fraud for the remainder of the 2022-23 award year but will waive any remaining verification requirements. In a typical year, more than 3 million federal aid applicants are asked to submit additional documentation to verify information they report to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Austin Reid and Patrick Lawler

DOT Unveils Infrastructure Law’s Roadway Safety Program

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced details on a new funding program included in the federal infrastructure law that provides $1 billion per year for the next five years for projects that aim to improve road safety. Safe Streets for All is a competitive grant program that allows cities, towns, planning organizations and tribal governments, though not states, to apply for funds that can be used for projects like widening shoulders, protecting bike lanes or collecting better traffic data. The competitive grants provide 80% of the funding for winning projects, and no more than 15% of funds can be awarded to a single state per year. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Ben Husch and Kristen Hildreth

New Guidance on $11B Abandoned Mine Grant Program

The Department of the Interior released guidance for the infrastructure law’s new program to clean up abandoned mines. The program will provide more than $11 billion to states over 15 years, with this guidance covering the first $775 million installment. The guidance outlines three categories for “priority” funding. Priority 1 projects are those that protect public health and safety from “extreme effects” of legacy coal mining at a location, whereas Priority 2 projects would protect the public from “adverse effects” of legacy mining. Priority 3 projects would “restore” areas “previously degraded by adverse effects.” Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Ben Husch and Kristen Hildreth

DOT Issues Waiver for Transporting Baby Formula

In response to the ongoing baby formula shortage, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a national emergency declaration to waive hours-of-service requirements for truck drivers who are transporting baby formula as well as ingredients used for production to manufacturers, distributors and stores. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Ben Husch and Kristen Hildreth

U.S. Forest Service Halts Prescribed Burns

In response to the Hermits Peak fire which began as a prescribed burn, the agency will halt all prescribed burns while it conducts a 90-day review of its practices. The immediate impact is likely to be limited as prescribed burns are less frequent during the summer season. The National Association of State Foresters will be represented in the review. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Ben Husch and Kristen Hildreth

In Every Edition

Read the May 16 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 | 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
  • Nicole Ezeh | 202-624-3568 | 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
  • Deanna Ross | 202-624-8680 | Labor, Economic Development and International Trade
  • Austin Reid | 202-624-8678 | Education
  • Erlinda Doherty | 202-624-8698 | Communications, Financial Services and Interstate Commerce