Capitol to Capitol
An Information Service of NCSL's Standing Committees

Volume 19   Issue 16 - May 15, 2012



On May 10, President Obama called for reducing unjustified regulatory burdens through “expanded retroactive analysis.” The executive order directs federal agencies to invite suggestions from state and local governments about which regulations, if reviewed and appropriately modified, could save money and reduce paperwork. The president's order builds on a Jan. 18, 2011, order (E.O. 13563) requiring federal agencies to develop internal retroactive review plans. The new executive order requires each agency to submit draft reports on Sept. 10, 2012, and follow-up reports every January and July. NCSL will be collecting and submitting suggestions from state legislators on existing regulations soon. The new executive order can be viewed here: More details will follow in Capitol to Capitol and on NCSL's webpage. 

In June or July, House Republicans will schedule floor debate on H.R. 373, the NCSL-backed legislation that would add grant conditions and an estimate of indirect costs to the fiscal analysis requirements under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA). Additionally, H.R. 373 (Oklahoma Representative James Langford) would bring federal independent agencies under its purview and authorize “look-backs” at federal laws and regulations assessing their fiscal impacts on states. H.R. 373 also contains various regulatory modifications affecting the private sector. NCSL staff contacts: Michael Bird, Jeff Hurley 


The FY 2013 funding season kicked off last week with the House’s 247-163 passage of H.R. 5326, legislation making appropriations for commerce, justice and science programs. States were sent a mixed message. It would provide level funding in FY 2013 for the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grants, but decrease funding for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) by a third (from $240 million in FY 2011 to $175 million in FY 2012), continuing its role as one of the most prominent unfunded federal mandates on the books. The legislation would also reduce the COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) program by 63 percent, and sustained funding for implementing the Adam Walsh Act, Drug Courts and the National Instant Criminal Background Check program. Stay tuned. The House Appropriations Committee is poised to pass two more funding measures this week, with three more waiting at the subcommittee level. The legislation drew a veto threat because it is based on a spending cap that is $19 billion below what was agreed to in last year’s Budget Control Act. Expect veto statements to be repeated on other bills coming down the House pike. NCSL staff contacts: Michael Bird, Jeff Hurley (appropriations generally), Susan Parnas Frederick, Jennifer Arguinzoni (justice)


NCSL urged the Senate Finance Committee to retain tax-exempt financing for state and local government bonds in a statement last week from Texas Rep. Dan Flynn and Massachusetts Rep. Jay Kaufman, co-chairs of NCSL’s Budgets and Revenue Committee. They asked the Senate Finance Committee to “carefully consider the effect any changes you propose would have on state revenue authority and the states’ abilities to fund a wide array of public works’ activities.” As Congress looks to reform the federal tax code and reduce the nation’s debt, several reports have called for eliminating or limiting all federal tax expenditures, including interest deductions for municipal bonds. Some have also suggested applying the limits retroactively. NCSL issued this statement for the record last week for a hearing on state and local tax and fiscal policy. It was the second time NCSL has corresponded with the committee recently, the first being on April 25 and advocating support for the Marketplace Fairness Act (S. 1832). The full statement from last week is available here: NCSL staff contacts: Michael Bird, Jeff Hurley