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Capitol to Capitol | Oct. 17, 2022

October 17, 2022

White House Hosts Virtual Summit on ‘Accelerating Infrastructure’

As part of the summit, the White House released its plan to accelerate infrastructure along with a fact sheet highlighting resources aimed at reducing the complexity of permitting federally funded infrastructure projects. Additionally, the Transportation Department released nonbinding guidance on best practices regarding public comment periods. Read more.

NCSL Contact: Ben Husch

Biden to Take On Cannabis Reform With Federal Pardons

President Joe Biden announced on Oct. 6 his intent to pardon via executive order all prior federal offenses for simple possession of cannabis. This action would likely affect about 6,500 individuals, according to White House officials. The president outlined the pardons as step one in his plan to tackle cannabis reform. He also plans to call on state governors to consider pardoning those who have been convicted of simple cannabis possession under state law. In addition, he directed the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. attorney general to begin examining the process of reviewing how cannabis is scheduled under federal law. Cannabis has been a Schedule I substance, along with fentanyl, heroin and other drugs with a high abuse risk and no accepted medical use, since the Controlled Substances Act was signed into law in 1970. NCSL supports the de-scheduling of cannabis to allow states to make their own determinations on the drug’s sale and use within their borders. Read NCSL’s cannabis policy.

NCSL Contact: Susan Frederick and Nicole Ezeh

Medicare Drug Manufacturers Subject to Penalties for Inflationary Increases

Drug manufacturers who provide medications to Medicare Part D beneficiaries are now subject to the Inflation Reduction Act’s rebate provision, which requires manufacturers to reimburse Medicare for drug prices that exceed the annual rate of inflation. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which began calculating prices for Part D drugs on Oct. 1, is required to notify drug manufacturers of penalties owed by July 1, 2023. Additionally, drug manufacturers who supply drugs administered to Medicare Part D beneficiaries—that is, administered in hospitals and doctors’ offices—are subject to a quarterly inflationary penalty beginning in January 2023 and will be notified by Oct. 1, 2023, of any rebates due. Rebates paid to Medicare will be deposited into a Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund, which helps cover the costs of Medicare drug benefits and other expenses. The IRA drug-pricing provisions are expected to limit out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries. Read more.

NCSL Contact: Lauren Kallins

Administration Releases Summary of Efforts to Strengthen US Cybersecurity Defenses

The fact sheet highlights efforts including:

  • Issuing cybersecurity performance goals for the private sector to provide a floor for future investments in important security outcomes.
  • Ensuring that the modernization of infrastructure projects, such as electric vehicle charging stations, includes cybersecurity protections.
  • Building state and local resiliency through the new State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program in the federal infrastructure law.
  • Countering ransomware attacks to protect important federal, state and local systems and working internationally to deliver a more secure cyberspace.
  • Working with the private sector to develop product labels that indicate when devices meet the U.S. government’s highest standards of cybersecurity.
  • Strengthening our cyber workforce through apprenticeships.

Read more.

NCSL Contact: Susan Frederick and Erlinda Doherty

Department of Education Announces $287M for School-Based Mental Health Services

The School-Based Mental Health Services Grant Program will provide $144 million in competitive five-year grants to local and state education agencies to increase the number of mental health service providers credentialed to work in schools. The department anticipates making up to 150 awards. The Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration Grant Program will provide $143 million in competitive five-year grants to partnerships of local or state education agencies and institutions of higher education to train school-based mental health service providers for employment in schools. The department anticipates making up to 250 awards The funding for both grants is provided through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Austin Reid (education) and Lauren Kallins (health and human services)

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NCSL's Advocacy in Washington

NCSL’s Washington staff advocates on behalf of state legislatures before Congress, the White House and federal agencies in accord with the policy directives and resolutions that are recommended by the NCSL Standing Committees and adopted by the full conference at the annual NCSL Legislative Summit Business Meeting. As a result of the advocacy that is guided by these policies’ positions, NCSL is recognized as a formidable lobbying force in state-federal relations.

NCSL Staff in Washington, D.C.

  • Molly Ramsdell | 202-624-3584 | Director
  • Susan Frederick | 202-624-3566 | Law, Criminal Justice, and Public Safety
  • Nicole Ezeh | 202-624-3568 | Law, Criminal Justice, and Public Safety
  • Ben Husch | 202-624-7779 | Natural Resources and Infrastructure
  • Kristen Hildreth | 202-624-3597 | Natural Resources and Infrastructure
  • Jon Jukuri | 202-624-8663 | Labor, Economic Development and International Trade
  • Deanna Ross | 202-624-8680 | Labor, Economic Development and International Trade
  • Austin Reid | 202-624-8678 | Education
  • Erlinda Doherty | 202-624-8698 | Communications, Financial Services and Interstate Commerce
  • Brian Wanko | 202-624-5400 | Budget and Revenue
  • Lauren Kallins | 202-624-8170 | Health and Human Services
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