Federal Relations Update

April 26, 2013
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April 26, 2013

Final Senate Consideration for Marketplace Fairness Set for May 6th
Lars Etzkorn, etzkorn@nlc.org, 202.626.3173

Yesterday, the Marketplace Fairness Act advanced in the Senate by clearing its fourth procedural hurdle this year (its third this month). We are grateful to our chief advocates for the legislation, Senators Michael Enzi (R-WY) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) and the many others, including Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who have been our champions on the Senate floor this week. Following yesterday’s cloture vote, the Senate adjourned for a one week recess and will return for final consideration of the bill on Monday, May 6. 

During the recess week and while they’re home in their districts, be sure to let your Senators know you support this legislation, so they return to Washington on May 6 ready to vote YES!. For additional updates, go to www.nlc.org.






Senate Immigration Proposal Introduced
Leslie Wollack, wollack@nlc.org, 202.626.3029

After months of negotiations, the Senate Gang of 8 finally introduced an immigration overhaul bill, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a markup for May 9 to begin committee negotiations on the 884 page bill. Lawmakers hope to have the bill to the full Senate this summer. Members of the group are Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John McCain (R-AZ), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY). 

Among other provisions, the bill creates a minimum 13-year path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants and includes an expedited track for the so called "DREAMers" who were brought into the country by their parents as a young age. For more information about the Senate bill, click here.

The path for immigration reform in the House may be on a different track. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) has announced plans to unveil an immigration package in the coming weeks but is signaling that it will be considered in a piece meal fashion rather than the comprehensive approach the Senate embraced. 

NLC has long-standing policy in support of immigration reform to boost economic opportunities and growth by allowing more community members to participate in local economies, to lessen the diversion of local police resources from enforcement of federal immigration law and focus on community policing. NLC would oppose new federal mandates on local governments as part of an immigration overhaul and seek federal funding to defray the costs of integrating new immigrants in local communities. 

Bipartisan CDBG Support Letter Circulating in House
Mike Wallace, wallace@nlc.org, 202.626.3025

House members showed their support for the Community Development Block Grant program by adding their names to a letter coauthored by a bipartisan group of House members. The coauthors, Robert A. Brady (D-PA), Lou Barletta (R-PA), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Peter T. King (R-NY), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), and Chris Gibson (R-NY) are urging House appropriators to fund CDBG at $3.3 billion in fiscal year 2014. By contrast, the President’s budget recommends a slight decrease for CDBG in FY2014 to $2.8 billion. A similar effort is expected in the Senate in the coming weeks as the appropriations process gets underway. NLC will continue to urge full support for CDBG and federal programs important to cities and towns.



PEPTA Introduced in the House and Senate
Neil Bomberg, bomberg@nlc.org, 202.626.3042

Last week, Reps. Devin Nunes (R-CA), Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Darrell Issa (R-CA) introduced H.R. 1628, the Public Employee Transparency Act (PEPTA) of 2013. This week, Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC), Tom Coburn (R-OK) and John Thune (R-SD) introduced a version of the same bill in the Senate, S. 779. 

These bills require states and local governments to report to the U.S. Treasury Secretary the financial status of their public pension plans by using the rate of return of low-yield U.S. Treasury bonds, a rate of return that is substantially below the actual rate of return for the vast majority of pension plans. States and local governments who fail to comply with the reporting requirements would forfeit their ability to issue tax-exempt municipal bonds.

NLC opposes this bill on the grounds that it preempts local government authority and violates principles of federalism. In addition, using low yield Treasury bonds would falsely depict the true condition of state and local governments and their retirement systems by implying a significantly larger unfunded liability than is actually the case. 



DHS Seeks to Consolidate Local Government Anti-Terrorism Grants Again
Neil Bomberg, bomberg@nlc.org, 202.626.3042

As was the case in fiscal year 2013, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is proposing to merge the State Homeland Security Program (SHSP), the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) and Operation Stonegarden (OPSG) grant programs in fiscal year 2014 into a single grant known as the National Preparedness Grant Program (NPGP). 

According to DHS, as a single, comprehensive grant program, NPGP “would eliminate the redundancies and requirements placed on both the federal government and the grantees resulting from the current system of multiple individual, and often disconnected, grant programs.” DHS has also argued that this grant program would not impact local funding since 80 percent of the appropriated funds would have to be passed through to local governments. 

NLC continues to oppose the consolidation, which may lead to reduced funding overall and because the current grant program structure is working.


DOJ Accepting Applications for Grant
Funding
Neil Bomberg, bomberg@nlc.org, 202.626.3042

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) announced today that both the COPS Hiring Program (CHP) and the COPS Community Policing Development (CPD) programs are open and accepting applications. CHP is a competitive grant program that provides funding directly to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies having primary law enforcement authority for the hiring or re-hiring of additional officers to impact their community policing capacity and crime prevention efforts. For a link to the COPS Hiring Program announcement, click here

CPD funds are used to advance the practice of community policing in law enforcement agencies through training and technical assistance, the development and documentation of innovative community policing strategies, applied research, guidebooks, and best practices that are national in scope. For a link to the COPS Community Policy Development Program announcement, click here.
In This Issue 


Final Senate Consideration for Marketplace Fairness Set for May 6th

Senate Immigration Proposal Introduced

Bipartisan CDBG Support Letter Circulating in House

PEPTA Introduced in the House and Senate

DHS Seeks to Consolidate Local Government Anti-Terrorism Grants Again

DOJ Accepting Applications for Grant Funding


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