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Capitol to Capitol | Feb. 20, 2024

February 20, 2024

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NCSL Updates

NCSL and State Partners Urge Congress to Pass the STRONGER Act

NCSL joined a coalition letter supporting passage of the STRONGER Act (Supporting Treatment and Recovery Over Narcotics for Growth, Empowerment and Rehabilitation), which the Senate introduced Feb. 7. This bill reauthorizes and updates the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Prisoners grant program. The RSAT supports state and local governments by funding substance use treatment for adults in prisons and jails. The STRONGER Act allows grantees to use RSAT funds for treatment at the pretrial stage, ensures programs can offer continuity of care, and requires program staff to be trained in the science of addiction. The bill contains no unfunded mandates for training and reauthorizes RSAT funding at $40 million for fiscal years 2024-28. Read the full letter here.

Call to Action: Urge your congressional delegation to support the STRONGER Act.

NCSL Urges Congress to Pass the Support for Patients and Communities Reauthorization Act

NCSL sent a letter to the Hill urging Congress to pass the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Reauthorization Act. The legislation, passed by the House but stalled in the Senate. First passed in 2018, the SUPPORT Act was due to be reauthorized in September 2023 but has instead been funded by the continuing resolutions Congress has passed while working on the appropriations process. The House passed its version of the bill in December 2023, and the Senate HELP and Finance Committees passed a version that has not yet been taken up by the full Senate. With over 48 million people in the United States suffering from a substance use order, rising numbers of overdose deaths that have reached 110,000 annually and significant behavioral health workforce shortages, NCSL urged swift passage of a comprehensive SUPPORT Act reauthorization to enable states and other stakeholders to continue their efforts to address the crisis. Read the full letter here.

Call to Action: Urge your congressional delegation to support the SUPPORT Act.

Congressional Updates

AI and Critical Technology Workforce Framework Act Introduced

Sens. Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) introduced the AI and Critical Technology Workforce Framework Act, which would direct the National Institute of Standards and Technology to create a plan for government, industry and academia to help build a pipeline of AI talent essential to meet future workforce needs. Read more

Tax Bill: Snapshot of Affordable Housing Credits

The Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act, which passed the House on Jan. 31, awaits consideration in the Senate. NCSL covered the $78 billion proposal, including the update to the child tax credit in the Jan. 23 edition of Capitol to Capitol. The pending bill would restore a 12.5% increase to the low-income housing tax credit that expired in 2021 and change tax-exempt bond financing requirements. The IRS tax credit program provides states $13.5 billion annually through housing finance agencies, and the credit increase comes at a cost of $6 billion over 10 years.

The Joint Committee on Taxation notes the proposed changes:

State Housing Credit Ceiling Increase for Low-Income Housing Credit. From 2018-21, the 9% LIHTC ceiling was increased by 12.5%, allowing states to allocate more credits for affordable housing projects. This provision restores the increase for 2023-25 and is effective for taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2022.

Tax-Exempt Bond Financing Requirement. To receive the LIHTC under current law, a building must either receive a credit allocation from the state housing finance authority or be bond-financed. To be bond-financed, 50% or more of the aggregate basis of the building and land must be financed with bonds that are subject to a state’s private activity bond volume cap. This provision lowers the bond-financing threshold to 30% for projects financed by bonds issued before 2026, and provides a transition rule for buildings with bonds already issued by requiring that a building must have 5% or more of its aggregate basis financed by bonds issued in 2024 or 2025. The provision is effective for buildings placed in service after Dec. 31, 2023. In the case of rehabilitations, which are treated as new buildings by the IRS, a building is considered placed in service at the end of the rehabilitation expenditures period. The 30% requirement is applied to the aggregate basis of both the existing building and the rehabilitation expenditures.

Read more: 
Congressional Research Service | An Introduction to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit
Forbes | Congress May Expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. But Why?

Administration Updates

CISA Launches 2024 Election Infrastructure Protections

Earlier this month, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency launched #Protect2024. As part of the initiative, CISA developed a new webpage to consolidate critical resources, training lists and security service offerings to support the over 8,000 election jurisdictions across the country. Read more

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