Law, Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee Newsletter is an NCSL electronic newsletter for committee members and interested staff. This newsletter provides monthly updates and links to the latest research and news highlights related to law, criminal justice and public safety.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) was signed into law on March 27 and provides an estimated $2 trillion stimulus package to battle the harmful effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Federal agencies have worked overtime to implement the CARES provisions and new updates are coming out all the time—see NCSL’s federal action and federal announcements pages for most recent updates. Some highlights of the package include:
NCSL’s full summary can be found here.
NCSL held a briefing on the COVID-19 National Emergency Declaration for members of the Law, Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, as well as the Public Private Partnership on Disaster Mitigation and Recovery, on April 1. The briefing covered key developments under the Stafford Act National Emergency Declaration and the CARES Act stimulus package. A recording and overview of the briefing can be found here.
President Donald Trump declared a public health emergency under the Public Health Service Act on Jan. 31, issued two national emergency declarations under both the Stafford Act and the National Emergencies Act (NEA) on March 13, and invoked emergency powers via executive order under the Defense Production Act on March 18. On March 19, Trump named the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as the lead agency in the COVID-19 emergency response efforts, a designation previously held by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). These actions have varying implications but collectively allow the federal government to deliver critical financial assistance and flexibilities for state and local response efforts by state emergency management agencies, health agencies, governors’ offices and others. Review NCSL’s briefing for details on what these measures mean for states and how to access assistance.
As COVID-19 responses continue to evolve on the state and federal levels, NCSL is tracking updates closely. See below for key developments from DHS and FEMA as of April 10.
Emergency Assistance for States:
As of April 10, every state and territory has been approved for a major disaster declaration except Wyoming, which has submitted its request for review. Major Disaster Declarations:
States can request 100% federal coverage of National Guard costs for COVID-19 response under Title 21—see here for details on how to apply. To date, the president has approved 38 National Guard requests under 100% federal cost share for the use of National Guard personnel in COVID-19 response, Title 32 duty status.
Considering both scarcity of ventilators in the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) and current capacity of the private sector to meet demand, the federal government has adopted a process to manage federal ventilator resources to ensure the right amount of ventilators are shipped to the right states to sustain life within a 72-hour window. Emergency managers and public health officials submit requests for ventilators to FEMA/HHS, providing detailed data on:
As of April 8, FEMA and HHS have provided or are currently shipping 10,540 ventilators from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) and the Defense Department to: Alaska (60), California/LA County (170), Colorado (100), Connecticut (150), Delaware (50), Florida (200), Georgia (150), Guam (30), Illinois (400), Louisiana (350), Maryland (470), Massachusetts (400), Michigan (700), the Navajo Nation (50), Nevada (150), New Jersey (1,858), New York (4,400), Oregon (140), Washington (500) and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (20).
In addition to ventilators, as of April 9, FEMA and HHS have coordinated the delivery of or are currently shipping: 48.6 million N95 respirators, 57.6 million surgical masks, 5.5 million face shields, 9 million surgical gowns, 105 million gloves, 212,000 coveralls, 9,090 ventilators and 8,500 federal medical station beds.
Originally published on March 19, an updated version of the Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency’s essential critical infrastructure worker guidance is available here. This list is advisory in nature—it is not a federal directive or standard nor is it intended to be the exclusive list of critical infrastructure sectors, workers and functions that should continue during the COVID-19 response across all jurisdictions. Officials should use their own judgment in issuing implementation directives and guidance. DHS plans to release a 3.0 version of this guidance in the coming days.
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.