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NCSL on the Hill | August 2020

Aug. 17, 2020 | State Legislatures Magazine

NCSL New From the Hill

NCSL’s Washington staff advocate on behalf of state legislatures before Congress, the White House and federal agencies.

NCSL, Big 7 Coalition Host Congressional Briefing on FMAP

The virtual briefing, hosted July 29 for members of Congress, highlighted the need for an additional 6.2 percentage point increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) in the next congressional COVID-19 response bill. The briefing was a follow-up to a letter the Big 7 coalition and more than 160 other groups sent to congressional leadership earlier this summer. In the briefing, the groups advocated for an FMAP increase and requested that Congress rescind the Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Rule. The Big 7 consists of NCSL, the National Governors Association, the Council of State Governments, the National Association of Counties, the International City/County Management Association, the National League of Cities, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Watch. —Haley Nicolson and Margaret Wile

NCSL’s Town Hall Series on Federal Stimulus Funding

This series, which originally ran in early August, highlights the state use of Coronavirus Relief Fund payments and the need for the federal government to provide additional flexible fiscal relief.  A trio of state legislators—Georgia Senator Blake Tillery (R), Georgia Representative Terry England (R) and Nevada Senate Pro Tem Mo Denis (D)—provided a “boots on the ground” perspective.

  • State Budget Update and COVID-19 Spending (Watch)
  • Georgia State Update (Watch)
  • Nevada State Update (Watch)
 

On the Radar

House Passes Two Bipartisan Child Care Bills: The Child Care Is Essential Act (HR 7027) and the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act (HR  7327) passed the House in late July and await action in the Senate. Together the bills would provide grant funding to child care providers, enhance the child and dependent care tax credit, create a refundable payroll tax credit for child care providers, increase funding for the Child Care Entitlement to States program and provide $10 billion to invest in infrastructure to improve child care safety.  

Lead and Copper Rule Gets Final Review: The Environmental Protection Agency sent its revisions to the lead and copper rule, which has not been updated significantly since 1991, to the White House Office of Management and Budget for interagency review, typically the last step before a federal rule or policy is released to the public. For more information on the revisions, proposed in October 2019, read NCSL’s blog.

Senators Announce College Athlete Bill of Rights: A group of 10 senators announced principles for upcoming federal legislation that would affect compensation, health care, scholarships and eligibility for collegiate athletes. Read NCSL’s blog

The Latest From D.C.

State, Local Groups Press Congress and Administration to Find Agreement

In response to the standstill on Capitol Hill regarding the next round of federal stimulus assistance, NCSL recently joined with the other Big 7 associations in a statement pressing Congress and the administration to come to agreement. “State and local governments aren’t seeking a bailout. They are seeking fiscal stabilization to immediately address revenue shortfalls caused by emergency measures enacted at every level of government to contain the spread of COVID-19.”  

—Erlinda Doherty and Susan Frederick

U.S. Treasury Report on CRF Misleading

NCSL raised concerns about a recent Treasury report, as it failed to provide a complete picture of how states have budgeted money under the Coronavirus Relief Fund. Many states have obligated future CRF dollars to local governments and other purposes, even though the funds may not have been transferred or received yet; therefore, they are not reflected in the data reported by the Treasury.

—Erlinda Doherty and Susan Frederick

House Passes Sami’s Law With NCSL Amendments

The House passed HR 4686, commonly known as Sami’s Law, on a bipartisan vote July 31. The bill, named in honor of Samantha Josephson, a South Carolina college student who was killed by someone pretending to be her Uber driver, would require companies such as Uber and Lyft to implement systems to match passengers to drivers before rides begin and make it illegal for anyone other than the ride-hailing companies to sell signage for vehicles. The House bill does not include provisions contained in the introduced version that would have withheld federal highway funds from states that didn’t make certain required changes to their vehicle identification laws. NCSL lobbied against these provisions and was successful in having them removed. The bill moves to the Senate, where it is unclear if it has enough support for passage.

—Ben Husch