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Capitol to Capitol | March 27, 2023

March 27, 2023

Questions? Please use the email icon at left to contact NCSL’s State/Federal Division.

NCSL Updates

NCSL Letter on IDEA Funding

NCSL joins other organizations in calling for a $2 billion increase for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Even with the increase, the program’s funding levels still fall short of the federal government’s commitment to supply 40% of the national average per pupil expenditure. Read more.

NCSL Letter on Rail Safety

NCSL supports preserving state authority and uniform standards for hazardous materials transportation. Read more.

Administration Updates

Department of Agriculture Releases Proposed Rule on School Meals Community Eligibility Provision

The proposed regulation would lower the threshold for participation in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) by reducing the minimum identified student percentage from 40% to 25%. Schools or districts with 25% of students who qualify for free lunch would have the option to use the CEP to provide free meals to all students. Comments on the proposed rule are due by May 8.  Read more.

President Biden Vetoes Legislation to Overturn ESG Retirement Rule

The president vetoed a resolution brought forward under the Congressional Review Act that sought to reinstate a Trump-era rule preventing retirement fund managers from considering environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) factors when making investment decisions. The resolution would have overturned the Department of Labor regulation “Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investment and Exercising Shareholder Rights.” Previously, federal rules sought to protect investors by banning use of nonfiduciary factors such as ESG, as they potentially reduced investment returns or assumed greater risk for investors. Under the Labor Department rule, investors now can assume such reductions and greater risk based on personal preference, and managers are protected when meeting preferences sought by clients.  Read more.

End of Public Health Emergency Impacts ACF Programs

The Administration for Children and Families has released a document detailing changes to ACF-administered programs caused by the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency. Programs affected by the phaseout of the emergency federal medical assistance percentage this year include Title IV-E child welfare programs, the Child Care Development Fund and state child support programs. Head Start and tribal child support will be affected by the end of administrative flexibilities starting May 11. Read more.

Department of Education Announces Simplified FAFSA Form Coming in December

The new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form for the 2024-25 school year has significantly fewer questions for applicants than previous forms and includes a new needs analysis formula with expanded income eligibility. The department published a FAFSA implementation road map with resources for schools and states on the simplified form. Read more.

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