Federal Advocacy Update

In this issue:

Pass Marketplace Fairness This Holiday Shopping Season

Angelina Panettieri, 202.626.3196

With Americans expected to spend over $2 billion shopping online on the "Cyber Monday" after Thanksgiving this year, the time is now to close the on-line sales tax loophole that is unfair to brick and mortar retailers and translates into a loss of billions of dollars in resources for state and local governments to provide services in their communities. Take a few minutes to send a message to your congressional delegation and tell them that Congress must pass marketplace fairness legislation immediately.

Don't let another holiday shopping season pass by with the online sales tax loophole. Tell Congress to take action on this must-pass legislation during the current lame duck session, and level the playing field for online and brick-and-mortar stores. Send your message to Congress now.

NLC Responds to President's Immigration Action

Neil Bomberg, 202.626.3042

Earlier today, in an effort to fix the nation's broken immigration system, the President signed an executive order that will help secure the border, hold nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants accountable, help ensure that families stay together, and ensure that certain undocumented immigrants pass a background check to make sure that they start paying their fair share in taxes.

For more information on the President's action, click here.

In response to the President's actions, NLC President Chris Coleman, mayor of St Paul, MN, said, "The president is to be commended for his strong leadership today." He continued, "The use of executive authority in this manner can go a long way towards providing a fully workable solution to this crisis."

Recognizing that the President's actions are only a first step, in its statement, NLC also called on Congress and the Administration to finish the work and enact comprehensive immigration reform.

NLC Calls on EPA to Clarify Proposed Water Rules

Carolyn Berndt, 202.626.3101

Last week, NLC submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) on their proposed rule on the "Definition of ‘Waters of the United States' Under the Clean Water Act."

In the comments, NLC called on the EPA and the Corps to modify the proposed rule to address key concerns about the lack clarity and ambiguous language of the proposed rule that would create more confusion, not less, for local governments and ultimately for agency field staff responsible for making jurisdictional determinations.

Unless cities' concerns are addressed, NLC urged EPA and the Corps to issue a revised proposed rule with an additional comment period or to withdraw the rule and resubmit a proposed rule at a later date that addresses our concerns.

President's Climate Task Force Recommends Stronger Partnership

Carolyn Berndt, 202.626.3101

On Monday, the President's State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience released 35 recommendations for how the federal government can best support local communities in the face of extreme weather and climate impacts. The Task Force, whose members include NLC First Vice President Ralph Becker, mayor of Salt Lake City, UT, presented a comprehensive look at federal preparedness efforts and ways to improve federal-local partnerships.

The culmination of a year of work, the task force's recommendations offer guidance on how the federal government should modernize programs and policies to incorporate climate change, incentivize and remove barriers to community resilience, and provide useful, actionable information and tools.

In addition to Mayor Becker's participation, informed by the input of almost 100 local governments, NLC, together with our Resilient Communities for America (RC4A) partners presented a "Federal Policy Initiative" with recommendations to the Task Force, several of which were included in the final task force report.

In the coming year, to support local climate mitigation and adaptation efforts, NLC will be advocating for federal support of the Federal Policy Initiative recommendations.


Former Mayor to Lead White House Intergovernmental Affairs Office

Angelina Panettieri, 202.626.3196

President Obama has appointed former five-term Louisville mayor Jerry Abramson to lead the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. In his first week on the job, NLC welcomed Abramson to Austin to participate in its Congress of Cities Conference. In response to news of his appointment, NLC President Chris Coleman said, ""President Obama chose a local leader with decades of experience who has worked tirelessly as an advocate to make cities better and safer for all residents.

"We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Administration and Lt. Gov. Abramson on issues that matter to cities and their communities. Working together, we can address the tough challenges facing cities."

HUD Announces 2014 Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grants

Michael Wallace, 202.626.3025

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has opened the application process for its FY2014 Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grants. This grant program makes available $76 million for cities to revitalize distressed communities. Local governments, nonprofits, local housing authorities, tribal entities, and for-profit developers may apply for a grant to revitalize seriously distressed public housing or HUD-assisted housing developments into viable, mixed-income communities. Applications are due on Monday, February 9, 2015.

For more information, and to determine eligibility in your community, visit the HUD website.