Federal Advocacy Update: Week Ending July 1, 2016

In this issue:

NLC Board and Federal Advocacy Committees Convene in Kansas City

Ashley Smith, 202.626.3094

This week, more than 200 local leaders from across the country convened in Kansas City, Missouri, for the National League of Cities (NLC) summer board and leadership meeting. In addition to a business meeting for NLC's board of directors, the meeting provided a platform for members of the seven federal advocacy committees to discuss the organization's federal action priorities and policy positions.

In the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history - claiming the lives of 49 victims at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida - the National League of Cities (NLC) board of directors passed a resolution on Wednesday that urges Congress and the Administration to take action to reduce gun violence. The resolution calls for funding additional mental health services, establishing a federal handgun registry, strengthening existing background check laws, reinstating an assault weapons ban, and granting cities greater regulatory authority over guns.

Board Meeting
NLC's Board of Directors votes on resolution in support of efforts to reduce gun violence in the United States

In addition, the board also approved the organization's Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 budget and heard updates on several strategic initiatives, including the National City-County Task Force on the Opioid Epidemic and the 2016 Presidential Election Task Force.

Federal Advocacy Committee members focused their time in Kansas City on the organization's National Municipal Policy, the status of NLC's 2016 federal action agenda, and inventive local practices. Representatives from the Kansas City business community, federal agencies and Mayor Sly James, Kansas City, Missouri, participated as guest speakers in the meetings.

FA Update
NLC Federal Advocacy Committee Members convene in Kansas City, Missouri (L-R from top): Mayor Andy Hafen and Councilmember Gerri Schroder, Henderson, Nevada, learn about connected, livable communities during a Kansas City streetcar mobile workshop; NLC Federal Advocacy Committee members learn about a cleaner, healthier Kansas City during a Kansas City Water Services Overflow Control Program mobile workshop; Human Development Committee members learn about the Major League Baseball Youth Academy from Kansas City Mayor Sly James and Kansas City Royals Director of Baseball Administration Kyle Vena.

Committee members also toured innovative projects in Kansas City, gaining insight into the city's water, broadband, and transportation infrastructure through mobile workshops. For a full look at the committee's activity while in Kansas City, click here. For additional photos and highlights from NLC's summer board and leadership meeting, follow NLC on Twitter.

Supreme Court Halts Deferred Action Immigration Program

Carolyn Coleman, 202.626.3023

Last week, the Supreme Court split 4-4 in United States v. Texas on whether the President's executive action on immigration reform violates federal law. As a result, the Fifth Circuit's nationwide temporary stay of the program remains in effect.

The Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program allows certain undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States for five years and either came here as children or already have children who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents to lawfully stay and work temporarily in the United States. About 5 million people are affected. The National League of Cities joined an amicus brief supporting DAPA.

Following this decision, a trial court may rule on whether the program should be permanently stayed. To read more about the case, click here.

FAA Recognizes Local Authority in New Drone Regulations

Matthew Colvin, 202.626.3176

In a win for local governments and local decision-making authority, new rules issued last week by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on unmanned aviation systems (UAS), commonly known as drones, recognize that city leaders should play a role in regulating how, when and where drones operate in their communities. The new rules put in place a number of new regulations, including hours of operation, height and line of sight requirements.

The rules come at a time when local governments have been under attack by broad federal and state-level efforts to preempt local authority. In the final rule, the FAA stated that the agency was "not persuaded that including a preemption provision in the final rule is warranted at this time," concluding that "certain legal aspects concerning small UAS use may be best addressed at the state or local level."

For more information on the final rule, click here.

Going to the DNC or RNC Convention? Join NLC for Special Events!

Carolyn Coleman, 202.626.3023

To ensure issues important to cities are top of mind with the Republican and Democratic nominees for president, the National League of Cities (NLC) is traveling to Cleveland and Philadelphia this July for the national political conventions. At both events, NLC will be hosting an infrastructure briefing and a networking reception for local officials and would like to invite you to attend!

If you're going to either convention, please fill out this form and you will be the first to know about NLC's activities and speaker announcements in the coming weeks!

For questions about NLC's activities at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, please contact Angelina Panettieri at panettieri@nlc.org. For questions about the NLC's activities at Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, please contact Emma Lieberth at lieberth@nlc.org.

Help Shape New Community Connectivity Broadband Initiative

Angelina Panettieri, 202.626.3196

BroadbandUSA, a program within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is seeking local officials to provide feedback on and shape the future of its new Community Connectivity Initiative. The Community Connectivity Initiative is intended to provide local and tribal governments with tools to assess their own readiness to improve broadband connectivity, make goals and plan for the future, and access technical assistance and guidance from federal agencies and peers.

Over the next year, BroadbandUSA will conduct a series of webinars to shape the future of the Community Connectivity Initiative and test the tools available to communities. Participants in these webinars will get the latest updates on the initiative, review the existing assessment tools and help to determine what customized resources will be available to participating communities.

These webinars are open to any community leader interested in expanding broadband access and adoption for their residents. To participate in one or more, register online at NTIA's website.

EPA Announces Availability of Funding for Brownfields Area Wide Planning Grants

Carolyn Berndt, 202.626.3101

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting proposals from eligible entities who wish to develop an area-wide plan for brownfields assessment, cleanup, and subsequent reuse. The proposal submission deadline is August 10.

This funding is for research and/or technical assistance activities directed to one or more brownfield sites located in a specific area. Proposals must include an area-wide plan that consists of specific implementation strategies. EPA anticipates awarding approximately 20 projects in total, funded at up to $200,000 each. For more information and to apply for funding, click here.

Supreme Court Updates for Local Government Officials

Ashley Smith, 202.626.3094

The State and Local Legal Center will hold three upcoming events focused on current trends in the Supreme Court that matter to local governments:

SCOTUS Redistricting Cases

It is a banner year in the Supreme Court for redistricting cases! Aside from Evenwel v. Abbott, holding that states may redraw legislative districts based on total population, the Court decided three other redistricting cases that will be important for the 2020 redistricting cycle. Rick Hasen, University of California Irvine School of Law, will provide a brief overview of redistricting law as it relates to the cases. Bruce Adelson, Federal Compliance Consulting, and Mark Packman, Gilbert LLP, will discuss the cases and how they will affect redistricting.

Date: July 12, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM EDT
Register for the webinar here.

*The webinar is free. Continuing legal education (CLE) credit is not offered.

Supreme Court Review for State and Local Government

From immigration to abortion and bribery to retaliation, the Supreme Court's term has been interesting for state and local government. Discuss where the Court landed on the big issues and what state and local government's need to do next with Erin MurphyBancroftQuin SorensonSidley Austin, and Brent KendallWall Street Journal.

Date: July 19, 2016
Time: 1:00 PM EDT
Register for the webinar here.

*The webinar is free. Continuing legal education (CLE) credit is not offered.

Signs and Speech One Year After Reed

Last summer the Supreme Court declared part of the Town of Gilbert's sign code unconstitutional ruling that content-based regulations are subject to strict scrutiny. John M. Baker, Greene Espel, will discuss how local governments have been modifying their sign codes to come into compliance with Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona and how courts have interpreted the Reed decision in and out of the sign context.

Date: September 14, 2016 
Time: 1:00 PM EDT
Register for the webinar here.

*The webinar is free. Continuing legal education (CLE) credit is not offered.

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