Capitol Comments

On Wednesday, September 6, The Council of State Governments co-hosted a briefing entitled “The Future of the National Flood Insurance Program: Helping Communities Prepare and Respond” on Capitol Hill, along with the National Association of Counties, the National Governor’s Association, the National League of Cities, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the Coalition for Sustainable Flood Insurance.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), initially created in 1968, provides homeowners and small...

In Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association New Jersey Governor Chris Christie argues that because the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) prohibits the state from repealing laws restricting gambling it amounts to unconstitutional commandeering. The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus brief supporting Christie.

PASPA, adopted in 1992, makes it unlawful for states and local governments to authorize gambling.

In Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association New Jersey Governor Chris Christie argues that because the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) prohibits the state from repealing laws restricting gambling it amounts to unconstitutional commandeering. The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus brief supporting Christie.

PASPA, adopted in 1992, makes it unlawful for states and local governments to authorize gambling.

Since his Presidency began President Trump has been rolling back (or trying to roll back) many of the actions of President Obama. Sometimes (at least in theory) it is easier (practically if not politically) to do this than other times.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program allowed undocumented persons who arrived in the United States before age 16 and have lived here since June 15, 2007, to stay, work, and go to school in the United States without facing the risk of deportation for two years with renewals available.  

DACA was established through a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Memorandum during the Obama presidency. Getting rid of a statute requires action by Congress or the U.S. Supreme Court. Getting rid of regulations requires going through the Administrative Procedures Act lengthy notice-and-comment process. Getting rid of an agency memorandum requires issuing a superseding memorandum, which DHS has done.    

A federal district judge in Texas has invalidated Obama overtime regulations which would have made it more likely states and local governments would have had to pay more employees overtime.

Per the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), executive, administrative, and professional “white collar” employees do not have to be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours a week. Per Department of Labor (DOL) regulations, adopted shortly after the FLSA was adopted in 1938, employees must perform specific duties and earn a certain salary to be exempt from overtime as white collar employees.

On May 23, 2016, DOL issued final rules nearly doubling the previous salary level test for white collar employees from $455 per week, or $23,660 per year, to $913 per week, or $47,476 per year. The rules also automatically update the salary level every three years for white collar employees.

On Aug. 30, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and a bipartisan group of 7 other governors released a letter to congressional leaders that outlines reforms Congress should consider to strengthen states’ health insurance markets. 

As of May 2017, 17 states have submitted their complete plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The remaining states are expected to submit their plans this September.

According to data from the U.S. Travel Association, travel – both domestic and international – has a big impact on economic growth and job creation in the states. In 2015, domestic travelers took almost 2.2 billion trips and 77.5 million international visitors traveled to the U.S. These travelers combined generated $2.1 trillion in output for the U.S. economy and provided jobs for 15.1 million Americans, or one in nine private sector jobs. In addition, travel generated a total of $67 billion in state and local tax revenue.

In efforts to better defend the integrity of the election system, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will allow top state election officials – Secretaries of State and Election Directors – to apply for access to “secret” level clearance which would allow them to learn more about past, present and future election security information.

Congress must vote by Sept. 30 to ensure the future of federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP. States are following this vote closely, as 8.9 million children per year are insured under CHIP.

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