Hill Highlights

 

No 1: Congress Passes Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act

The president signed the $484 billion “Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act” into law on April 24, an interim Coronavirus (COVID-19) response package. The measure replenishes funding for small business loan programs that ran out of funds within days of their last appropriation. The bill provides $310 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses, $100 billion to hospitals for aid and more testing capability, and $60 billion for small business disaster loans. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated Congress would begin work to pass another, larger spending bill with relief for states and municipalities. NCSL’s full summary can be found here.

No 2: NCSL LCJPS Committee COVID-19 Public Safety Meeting Series

The NCSL criminal justice program is hosting a series of virtual meetings on the impact of COVID-19 on criminal and juvenile justice systems and policy. They will feature NCSL staff and other experts on the topic as well as time for discussion. The full list of upcoming meetings and registration links are below. These events are open to all legislators and their staff and NCSL partner organizations. The meeting series webpage will be periodically updated with speakers, recordings and resources for each meeting.

Upcoming Virtual Meetings 

This meeting will provide an overview of the current statutory framework that exists for pretrial release and jails enabling a rapid response to COVID-19 and highlight policies of concern to states during the pandemic. Attendees will also hear from criminal justice practitioners about how policy is playing out in the justice system and will have an opportunity to ask questions.

Speakers:

  • Amber Widgery, NCSL
  • Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack, Michigan Supreme Court
  • Director Laurie K. Dudgeon, Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts

View Speaker Bios and Resources

No. 3: DHS and FEMA Updates on COVID-19

As COVID-19 response continues to evolve on the state and federal level, NCSL is tracking updates closely. See below for key developments from DHS and FEMA in recent weeks.

Disaster Financial Management Guide

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released a Disaster Financial Management Guide on April 16. The guide identifies the capabilities and activities necessary to successfully implement disaster financial management in a cost-effective way. This includes information on how to track, calculate and justify the costs of an emergency; support local reimbursement reconciliation; avoid de-obligation of grant funding, and effectively fund and implement recovery projects and priorities. The guide is intended to support jurisdictions in identifying the resources needed to support their community, increase the efficiency of recovery efforts, and reduce the likelihood of audits and financial penalties for the jurisdiction.

Funding Notice for Emergency Management Performance Grant Supplemental Allocation

FEMA announced on April 14 a notice of funding for an additional $100 million in supplemental Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) program funds, appropriated via the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.” The money is available to all 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia, and applications must be submitted by April 28. Through the EMPG, states and territories can make subawards to their local and tribal governments. The funds are used to assist these governments in their public health and emergency management activities supporting the prevention of and response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. To expedite this funding, states will have until July 30 to submit the required work plan. Funding for this supplemental, or EMPG-S, is separate and distinct from any funding that will be awarded under the fiscal year 2020 EMPG funding notice that was announced on Feb. 14, 2020.

FEMA Releases Fact Sheet “COVID-19 by the Numbers”

Read FEMA’s fact sheet summarizing critical supplies, disaster declarations and funding obligated as of April 24.

DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Releases Revised Critical Infrastructure Workers Guidance

On April 17, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency released version 3.0 of the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers guidance to help state and local jurisdictions and the private sector identify and manage their essential workforce while responding to COVID-19. Version 3.0 provides clarity around a range of positions needed to support the critical infrastructure functions laid out in the original guidance and version 2.0. This iteration includes a reorganization of the section around healthcare and public health and more detail to clarify essential workers; emphasis for emergency medical services workers; and adds lawyers and legal aid workers. Also included is language focused on sustained access and freedom of movement, a reference to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on safety for critical infrastructure workers and a statement saying sick employees should avoid the workplace and the workforce. In worker categories, all references to “employees” or “contractors” have been changed to “workers.”

Bonus ...

NCSL Coronavirus Resources Webpage

NCSL is committed to providing our members with timely responses to state research requests and the essential knowledge needed to guide state action. This webpage reflects new resources in policy areas ranging from education to health care costs and access. Check back often—resources will be updated as they become available.