Federal Advocacy Update

Move Marketplace Fairness Past the Finish Line

Angelina Panettieri, 202.626.3196

With the 2014 election behind us, Congress will return to Washington next week for a brief "lame duck" session to finish their work for the year. Any bills not passed by the end of the year will die and have to be reintroduced in the next session, when the process starts over.

So, now is the time for cities to make marketplace fairness legislation a reality! We need you to call your members of Congress now or contact them on social media using the hashtag #efairness and ask them to move marketplace fairness past the finish line. If you have already reached out directly to your congressional delegation, consider writing a letter to the editor or op-ed for your local news outlet highlighting the importance of marketplace fairness.

The Senate has already passed legislation that will level the playing field between online and brick and mortar sellers. We need the House to do the same.
You can use a variety of materials to contact your members of Congress, including an issue brief on marketplace fairness, a report on the impact of marketplace fairness on a sample of cities, and data on the total uncollected sales tax in 2012 in each state.

After you have contacted your legislators, be sure to email advocacy@nlc.org to tell us who you spoke to any information you have on your legislator's position.

Passing an Appropriations Bill: A Must for the Lame Duck Session

Neil Bomberg, 202.626.3042

Before the 113th Congress can conclude in late December, it will have to pass an appropriation bill that funds the government for all or part of 2015, or face a possible government shutdown as early as December 12 after the current continuing resolution (CR) expires. Congress has several options to ensure that the government remains open into next year:

  • An omnibus appropriations bill that would fund the government for the remainder of fiscal year 2015,
  • A CR that also would fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year, or
  • A short term CR that would fund the government into early 2015.

Of these options, an omnibus appropriations bill would be the most favorable to cities.

The $1.014 trillion discretionary spending package would combine all 12 appropriations bills into a single "omnibus bill" with funding that reflects congressional and Administration priorities, many of which are favorable to cities. In contrast, the full year CR would extend current funding levels for another year without consideration for congressional or Administration priorities. It also would be very difficult for Congress to shift funds from one account to another or to nondefense discretionary programs that are important to cities, since CRs are generally a last resort passed when Congress cannot come to an agreement over funding. Though certainly not the worst situation, it would provide Congress with very little if any flexibility and virtually no chance of increasing funding for specific programs.


FCC Rules on Wireless Facility Siting Order

Julia Pulidindi, 202.626.3176

Last month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a "Report and Order" that takes steps to increase broadband deployment. Prior to the order, the FCC sought input on Section 6409(a) of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 ("Spectrum Act"), which prohibits local governments from denying eligible facilities' requests to modify existing wireless towers or stations if the modification does not substantially change the dimensions of the facility. NLC filed comments in February and March urging the agency to respect the authority of local governments.

The FCC's order addressed a number of concerns raised by NLC by recognizing the vital role that local governments play in bringing advanced communications services to all Americans and creating opportunities to work more closely with the FCC and industry partners.

The implementation date for the new regulation will be 90 days following the publication of the Report and Order in the Federal Register. The FCC will hold a webinar to review the details of the Order on Tuesday, December 2nd at 1pm.

Read a detailed summary of the provisions of the regulation with the greatest impact on cities.

Apply for a NLC Policy and Advocacy Committee by Nov. 24

Avery Peters, 202.626.3020

There's still time to apply to serve in 2015 on one of NLC's Policy Steering Committees. The deadline is Monday, November 24; incoming NLC President Mayor Ralph Becker, Salt Lake City, UT, will make the appointments. The first meeting of the Committees will be during NLC's Congressional City Conference, which will be held on March 7-11, 2015, in Washington, D.C.

Please click here to learn more about the Steering Committees. NLC's Steering Committees play an important role not only in advocating on federal policy issues important to cities and towns across America but also in taking the lead in shaping NLC's federal policy positions, which serves as the foundation for NLC's advocacy. 

For a complete list of NLC Committees and Councils and information about the applications process, please visit the Committees and Councils page on our website. For more information, please contact Avery Peters.

Army Corps Water Resources Project Proposals Due December 3

Carolyn Berndt, 202.626.3101

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is accepting proposals from local governments for feasibility studies and modifications to authorized water resources development projects until December 3, 2014 as required by the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA). Does your municipality have a problem with frequent flooding? Does the port that supports your local and regional economy need improvements? Would the quality of life in your community be improved by restoring an urban stream or watershed? Is your growing economy dependent on additional water supply?

By submitting a project proposal, local governments can help shape the future of Army Corps by identifying beneficial and necessary water resources projects to be developed through federal/non-federal cost sharing. Visit NLC's website to find out more and for details on how your community can submit a proposal.