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Capitol to Capitol | May 21, 2024

May 21, 2024

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Administration Updates

DEA Begins Process of Rescheduling Cannabis

Last week, the Drug Enforcement Agency proposed moving cannabis from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act to Schedule III. Under Schedule III, cannabis would still be subject to federal laws concerning possession, manufacturing and distribution, but it would be acknowledged as a drug with legitimate medical uses. Other drugs currently classified as Schedule III include anabolic steroids and codeine cough syrup. Read more

HUD Releases Proposed Changes to HOME Program

The Department of Housing and Urban Development released a preview last week of its proposed changes to the HOME Investment Partnerships Program. The HOME program provides formula grants to states and local governments to fund a wide range of activities to produce and maintain affordable housing and provides tenant-based rental assistance for low-income and very low-income households.

The proposed rule seeks to update, simplify or streamline current HOME regulations, better align the program with other federal housing programs, and implement recent amendments to the HOME statute. The rule also includes minor revisions to the regulations for the Community Development Block Grant and Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher programs that are consistent with the proposed changes to the HOME program.

Once published in the Federal Register, the proposed HOME program rule will be open for comments until early July, 60 days from the publication of the rule.

For more information, click here.

HHS Announces New Maternal Mental Health Care Strategy

The strategy calls for integration of perinatal mental health and substance use care across medical, community and social systems to increase equity and access, improve federal coordination and elevate culturally relevant supports and trauma-informed approaches. The plan, which includes recommendations for expanded federal funding, incentives and aid to state and local governments, is based on five core pillars:

  • Building a national infrastructure that prioritizes perinatal mental health and well-being, with a focus on reducing disparities.
  • Making care and services accessible, affordable and equitable.
  • Using data and research to improve outcomes and accountability.
  • Promoting prevention and education, and engaging and partnering with communities.
  • Elevating the voices of people with lived experience.

The strategy was developed by the Task Force on Maternal Health, a subcommittee of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Advisory Committee for Women’s Services. The task force also released a report to Congress that discusses the U.S. maternal mental health crisis, the task force’s methods, best practices, existing federal and state programs and coordination (see Page 114 for state programs), opportunities for state and local partnerships, workforce considerations, and feedback from listening sessions with state and local stakeholders. Read more

Additional resources:

White House Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis 

White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research

FERC Issues Energy Transmission Planning and Siting Reforms

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has released two final rules to update electric transmission permitting and to build capacity for rising energy demand and the transition to clean energy. Final first rule, Order 1920, mandates consideration of future needs, technologies and benefits when undertaking planning and construction of transmission infrastructure. By looking 20 years into the future, the rule aims to ensure there is ample transmission capacity to meet rising demand. The rule also dictates how the cost for new transmission infrastructure can be allocated across customers. The second rule, Order 1977, updates permit authorities to allow FERC to issue permits for the construction of multistate long-distance transmission infrastructure projects, if states have not acted within a year of a developer’s application. FERC commissioners passed Order 1920 by a 2-1 vote and passed Order 1977 unanimously. Legal challenges are expected. Read more

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