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Volume 17 Issue 32 - November 1, 2010
IT’S IN THE VOTERS’ HANDS
Nearly seven dozen sitting or former state legislators are seeking election to either the U.S. House of Representatives or U.S. Senate tomorrow. Their fate will determine whether half of Congress will be comprised of former state legislators. Since the late ‘80s, the number of former state legislators in Congress has numbered between 46 percent and 52 percent of the total House and Senate membership. Watch for final results later this week! (NCSL staff contacts: Michael Bird, Jeff Hurley)
NCSL COMMENTS ON PROPOSED REGULATORY IMPROVEMENTS
NCSL expressed support for proposed improvements in handling preemption matters during federal rulemaking procedures in an Oct. 27, 2010, letter to the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS). NCSL agrees with a proposed “Preemption Recommendation” that would require “greater federal agency accountability for preemption recommendations.” NCSL concurs that “each federal agency develop an internal E.O. 13132 (federalism) compliance guidance” like one used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which NCSL helped develop. Nevada Assemblyman William Horne, chairman of NCSL’s Law and Criminal Justice Committee, signed the communication to ACUS. ACUS is a federal entity responsible for making recommendations on how to improve the administration of federal agencies since 1968. The NCSL letter is available at http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=21581. (NCSL staff contacts: Susan Parnas Frederick, Jennifer Arguinzoni)
NCSL COMES TO THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
On Oct. 29, 2010, South Dakota Representative Joni Cutler, vice-chair of NCSL’s Law and Criminal Justice Committee, represented NCSL and testified at a symposium on federalism and preemption hosted by the National Commission on Uniform State Laws. That same day Kentucky Representative Brent Yonts and Utah Representative Julie Fisher represented NCSL at a Department of Labor conference examining workforce and unemployment insurance provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Yonts is co-chair of NCSL’s Labor and Economic Development Committee and Fisher serves on NCSL’s Executive Committee and as vice chair of the Labor and Economic Development Committee. (NCSL staff contacts: Susan Parnas Frederick, Jennifer Arguinzoni [law, criminal justice, preemption] James Ward [labor, economic development])
HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY GRANTS ANNOUNCED
On Oct. 29, 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it will award competitive grants to states to develop the “information technology infrastructure needed to operate health insurance exchanges.” These “Early Innovator” two-year grants will be rewarded to up to five states or a coalition of states that demonstrate “leadership in developing cutting-edge and cost effective consumer-based technologies and models for insurance eligibility and enrollment for exchanges.” The grants will be announced on Feb. 15, 2011. For more information: Announcement link http://www.ncsl.org/documents/health/InstEIgrts.pdf and Grant application package link http://www.ncsl.org/documents/health/EarlyInovGrts.pdf (NCSL staff contacts: Joy Johnson Wilson, Rachel Morgan)
AGENCIES CALL FOR COMMENTS ON FUEL STANDARDS
On Oct. 25, 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released the first proposed national standards to reduce carbon dioxide and improve fuel efficiency of heavy-duty trucks including combination tractors, heavy-duty pickups, and vans and vocational vehicles. The standards would first be applied to 2014 model year vehicles. State legislators and others have 60 days to comment from the date the proposed regulations are printed in the Federal Register. The proposed standards and comment information is available at http://www.epa.gov/otaq/climate/regulations.htm and http://www.nhtsa.gov/fuel-economy. (NCSL staff contacts: Tamra Spielvogel, Max Behlke)