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Capitol to Capitol | Nov. 13, 2023

November 13, 2023

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

Court Updates

Supreme Court to Decide on Education Entitlements Under Different GI Bills

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Nov. 7 in Rudisill v. McDonough, a case centering on educational benefits for veterans under the Montgomery and Post-9/11 GI bills. James Rudisill served in the military for eight years during the height of the war on terror. Under the Montgomery GI Bill, he was entitled to 36 months of education benefits, but the Post-9/11 GI Bill offers 48 months of benefits. Rudisill used 25 months of benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill and later attempted to use 23 more months of benefits to bring his total to 48 months. Rudisill was limited to using only 11 more months of educational benefits to hit the Montgomery GI Bill limit. Rudisill sued the Department of Veterans Affair to use the higher Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefit time limit and was denied relief by a federal appeals court. Virginia, joined by 39 other states, Washington, D.C., and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, filed an amicus brief in support of Rudisill, emphasizing the interest that states and territories have in ensuring the successful transition from military to civilian life for veterans, and how imperative federal veterans benefits are to achieving that goal.

The outcome of this case will affect the use of GI Bill benefits for the more than 16 million veterans living in the United States. NCSL will follow up on the decision later in the term.

Administration Updates

HHS Focus on Supportive Housing

The Departments of Health and Human Services and Housing and Urban Development have created the Housing and Services Partnership Accelerator, a 12-month technical assistance program to promote collaboration among state agencies engaged in helping people find and maintain stable housing. Among other common challenges, participating states will focus on payment models, data integration and sharing, filling resource gaps, and aligning state and local policies. Limited to four states, the program builds on growing interest among states in leveraging Medicaid flexibilities and federal housing resources to support stable housing in the community. Letters of intent are due by Nov. 15. and applications are due by Dec. 1.

In a related effort, the Administration for Children and Families recently announced funds for a new federal pilot program focused on supportive housing. The agency awarded $2.1 million in grants to eight states and one tribal community to fund the Affordable Housing and Supportive Services Demonstration program. Funding will support grantees in providing wraparound and supportive services, including on-site child care, financial literacy and coaching, GED preparation classes, transportation assistance, early childhood and youth programs, and mental health services.

Read more about both programs here.

CDC Call to Action as US Newborn Syphilis Cases Rise

The number of babies born with syphilis has increased tenfold over the past decade, following rising cases of syphilis in women of reproductive age and barriers to quality prenatal care. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, most cases might have been prevented with testing and treatment during pregnancy. The agency says treatment of syphilis during pregnancy more than 30 days before delivery can prevent infections in newborns. In 2022, 231 stillbirths and 51 infant deaths were attributed to syphilis.

The CDC is urging public health leaders and providers to step up efforts to stem the increasing numbers by increasing the use of rapid tests, expanding test providers and focusing on efforts in counties with high rates of syphilis. More information can be found here.

NCSL Updates

NCSL and Several Organizations Urge Congress to Provide ‘Dreamers’ a Pathway to Citizenship

NCSL and several state and local government organizations delivered a joint letter urging Congress to pass legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship for “Dreamers,” the people who were brought to the United States illegally as children by family. NCSL is joined by the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities, and the United States Conference of Mayors. Read the letter here.

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