The Communications, Financial Services and Interstate (CFI) Committee Newsletter is an NCSL electronic newsletter for Committee members and interested staff. This newsletter provides monthly updates and links to the latest research and news highlights related to communications, financial services and interstate commerce.
On May 14, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the states and struck down a 25-year old federal law known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). The Court voted 6-3 in favor of the state of New Jersey in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, (previously known as Christie v. NCAA) declaring PASPA unconstitutional as violative of the 10th Amendment's anti-commandeering doctrine.
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), along with other national organizations that represent state and local officials, filed an amicus brief in support of New Jersey. NCSL released a statement applauding the Supreme Court ruling saying, "NCSL supports every state's right to regulate gaming and sports betting, including both legalization and prohibition, without unwarranted federal preemption and interference." New Jersey can now move forward with its plan to legalize wagering, while other states will have the opportunity to alter their existing bans to allow for sports betting.
View NCSL resources on sports betting. Read NCSL and the State and Local Legal Center's blog on the subject, here.
The Supreme Court has ruled that that Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which prohibited states from authorizing sports-gambling, is unconstitutional. State and Local Legal Center amicus brief writer Richard A. Simpson, Wiley Rein, LLP, will discuss the reasoning of the Supreme Court's decision in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association. Ethan Wilson, Policy Director at the NCSL, will discuss what state legislatures have done so far and might do in the future to allow and regulate sports gambling.
The webinar will take place on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 at 1 p.m. ET. Watch a recording.
On May 22, the House gave final passage to financial services and banking reform legislation, sending it directly to the president's desk where it was signed two days later. The vote count was 258-159 with 10 members not voting. With 33 Democrats joining 225 Republicans voting in favor of the bill, it is one of very few pieces of recent legislation that is being touted as bipartisan. The bill had previously garnered significant bipartisan support in the Senate. Supporters claim S.2155 is a Dodd-Frank roll-back that provides much needed regulatory relief to small and midsized banks. Opponents argue that the bill panders to special interests and removes important consumer protections.
Significant provisions of the legislation include removing Dodd-Frank's "Systemically Important Financial Institution" (SiFi) designation from banks with up to $250 billion in consolidated assets. The current Dodd-Frank threshold is $50 billion. Shedding the SiFi designation means no longer being subject to the Fed's heightened prudential standards, a framework crafted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis designed to prevent large lending institutions from taking certain higher-risk investments.
Of interest to states is the legislation's reclassification of municipal bonds. Currently, municipal debt does not qualify as "high quality liquid assets" (HQLA) and as such, does not satisfy the Federal Reserve's liquidity coverage ratio requirements—commonly known as "stress testing." S.2155's section 403 reclassifies municipal bonds into HQLA Level 2B assets. In a win for state and local governments, this change could result in increased investment in state and local bonded projects such as heavy infrastructure, parks, roadways, hospitals, airports, etc.
Earlier this month Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Pai sent letters to Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and 20 other senators and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and 13 other senators in response to Senators' concerns around the impact of the Commission's recent decision to reverse title II regulations on broadband providers will have on students, schools and libraries. Pai's letter states that returning to the light-touch Title I framework will incentivize broadband providers to build out networks, especially in unserved areas, and therefore close the digital divide and promote competition. Chairman Pai argues that this will help all consumers, including teachers, students, librarians and other anchor institutions.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is asking stakeholders for ways to improve their ability to analyze broadband availability. In their announcement on May 31st, NTIA acknowledges that current data collected under FCC's Form 477 is insufficient to pin point areas that have insufficient broadband access. Therefore, the administration is requesting comments from all stakeholders on recommendations for potential sources of broadband availability data and ways to validate that data to better inform broadband infrastructure planning. NTIA hopes to identify gaps in broadband availability and provide resources to policymakers and broadband program leaders as they continue to support the deployment broadband across their states. Comments are due July 16, 2018.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) approved a certified list of devices for first responders to use on the FirstNet communications network. The Director of NIST is required to develop and maintain this list under the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. Read the full list here.
Several groups including INCOMPAS, NARUC, et al. and the Internet Association, et al. are weighing in on the Restoring Internet Freedom Order proceeding currently in the D.C. Circuit Court. Some of the issues raised include whether Chairman Pai's recent order reversing Title II designation of internet service providers violates the Communications Act of 1934 and whether the order can pre-empt states that enact their own net neutrality protections. The oral arguments calendar is still pending.
The FCC established a fund through an Order and NPRM on May 29, 2018, to assist Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands rebuild, improve and expand voice and broadband networks after the recent storms knocked out infrastructure across both territories. Puerto Rico carriers will see up to $750 million allocated for the buildout, with an immediate disbursement of $51.2 million for 2018 restoration efforts. The U.S. Virgin Islands carriers will see up to $204 million of funding, of which $13 million is immediately available for projects this year. Over the next 10 years the FCC proposes to spend approximately $444.5 million in Puerto Rico and $186.5 million in the Virgin Islands to expand fixed broadband. The FCC published a news release here.
Please join the Communications, Financial Services and Interstate Commerce Committee (CFI) at the Legislative Summit in L.A. The Summit promises to be full of interesting and provocative speakers and informative forums that address some of the most difficult issues you are facing in your state. We look forward to seeing you there!
The CFI Committee Business Meeting will be held Tuesday, July 31, from 1:30-2:45 p.m. The deadline for submitting amendments or new policy directives and resolutions is July 2. For more information regarding submitting policy directives and resolutions, please review the NCSL Policy Process Memo. The policy directives and resolutions will be accessible electronically through the NCSL app and the agenda and resources page on the Legislative Summit website.
Additionally, the CFI Committee's Legislative Summit agenda is now available online. As you will note from the agenda, the CFI Committee will explore the following topics: