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Special districts have been in the national headlines following the Florida State Legislature’s action to dissolve a narrow set of special districts, targeting the Reedy Creek Improvement District, upon which Walt Disney World was created. This action and subsequent news articles have largely been focused on the social political topic driving the dissolution of these districts, and less so on what special districts are and the great services they provide to millions of Americans across the country.   Published Wednesday exclusively on Smerconish.com is a piece by Districts Make the Difference , the national public awareness campaign for special districts, ...
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The National Special Districts Coalition has endorsed legislation that would allow public water utilities to leverage tax-exempt bonds for the replacement of lead-contaminated service lines on private property. In a letter sent Thursday to Congressman Daniel Kildee, D-Mich., the Coalition outlined its support for his H.R. 6985 , the Finance the Lead Out of Water (FLOW) Act of 2022. The bill would amend the existing tax policy requiring public utilities to sidestep the lengthy, costly Internal Revenue Service’s “ Private Business Use Test ,” which is required to approve tax-exempt bond revenues’ use for use on private land to ensure bond proceeds ...
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The National Special Districts Coalition supports bipartisan legislation that would authorize $1 billion for fire and EMS station construction and enhancement. Congressman Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., sponsors H.R. 3728 , the Fire Station Construction Grants Ac t , which would establish the “Assistance to Firefighters Fire Station Construction Grant” under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Grant funding would cover the building, rebuilding, or renovation of fire and emergency medical services (EMS) facilities and stations. The program would also cover installation of backup power systems, HVAC system upgrades, exhaust emission controls, development ...
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A bipartisan Senate deal to reallocate $10 billion in unused COVID relief and recovery funds to COVID therapies and research also includes key elements of existing legislation offering greater flexibility on use of ARPA State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. Senator Mitt Romney, R-Utah, announced Monday the Bipartisan COVID Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2022 , which includes the primary elements of the NSDC-supported State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act , which NSDC strongly supports. This legislation originated in the Senate as S. 3011 (Cornyn) and passed unanimously ...
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The National Special Districts Coalition Legislative Committee authorized during its March 2022 meeting a working group provide solutions to issues pertaining to firefighting infrastructure. The Coalition’s decision to establish the working group is predicated on feedback from various NSDC Members and special districts underscoring a need to address the lack of sustainable and efficient water infrastructure to accommodate firefighting needs. The establishment of the working group coincides with NSDC’s declaration of support for H.R. 3728 (Pascrell), which would authorize a new $1 billion Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) program to construct, enhance, ...
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Earmarks are officially back for the federal Fiscal Year 2023 appropriations process, and details are beginning to trickle in from top appropriators. House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., announced in a “ Dear Colleague ” letter the FY23 Community Project Funding process, which is similar to the FY22 program. The Committee and its subcommittees will be reviewing congressional requests through the end of April. Each subcommittee will release details on which federal funding accounts will be open for earmarks in the coming days. Some members of Congress have begun announcing their own application deadlines to ensure adequate time ...
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NSDC signaled its approval Thursday for legislation to boost critical funding resources for firefighter assistance that also proposes policies to address short staffing in America’s fire agencies.  The Coalition’s support of S. 3592 (Sanders), the Firefighter Staffing and Support Act , is rooted in the resources the legislation would authorize and policies offered to enhance the ability for volunteer forces to respond in times of disaster. The bill would authorize $913 million in FY2023 appropriations for each the Assistance for Firefighter Grant (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) programs with adjustments commensurate ...
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The National Special Districts Coalition supports federal legislation that would create labeling standards for non-flushable wet wipes and foster public awareness of the wipes’ impacts on wastewater infrastructure. H.R. 4602 (Lowenthal), the Wastewater Infrastructure Pollution Prevention and Environmental Safety (WIPPES) Act , is a bipartisan effort that would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Trade Commission to collaboratively develop standards for non-flushable wipe manufacturers to print “Do Not Flush” labels on packaging. The legislation would allow violations to be considered “unfair or deceptive acts or practices” ...
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The application period is now open to join a federal commission focused on developing recommendations to policymakers on wildfire mitigation and recovery. The Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission is charged with recommending short- and long-term policies and strategies to federal lawmakers for preventing, mitigating, suppressing, and managing wildfire. The U.S. departments of Agriculture (USDA), Homeland Security (DHS), and Interior (DOI) will coordinate the commission, which will also offer recommendations for the rehabilitation of fire-ravaged lands. NSDC encourages special district representatives with expertise and experience in wildfire preparedness, ...
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The National Special Districts Coalition on Monday communicated to the House Homeland Security Committee its support for the bipartisan State and Local Government Cybersecurity Act of 2021 . The legislation – H.R. 5960 (Neguse) and S. 2520 (Peters) –   would allow the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agencies to enhance communication of vital information regarding potential cyber threats, vulnerabilities, and breaches to state and local governments. The bills would also authorize federal resources to help state and local governments to prevent and recover from future cyberattacks. NSDC’s February 7 letter to House Homeland Security ...
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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will host virtual public comment sessions on its “ Strategy to Reduce Lead exposures and Disparities in U.S. Communities ” for each of its 10 regions through early-March. The “virtual public listening sessions” are supplemental to the overall public comment period on the draft strategy, which closes March 16, 2022. The sessions are opportunities for the public to provide input on how the agency should address lead contamination in communities across the country – including in drinking water systems and soils. EPA encourages interested stakeholders to engage on the draft, which will serve as a guiding document ...
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The U.S. Supreme Court effectively blocked Thursday the Biden Administration's vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers while allowing the rule for healthcare workers to move forward. In a 6-3 decision , the Court re-imposed the stay on the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) emergency temporary standard (ETS) requiring employers with 100 or more employees to adopt and enforce policies requiring workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Under the ETS, those who are not vaccinated must submit to weekly COVID tests. If the stay is later lifted, the standard will impact all of the nation’s large employers, but it will also impact ...
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Federal cyber officials are alerting critical infrastructure operators of the potential for Russian state-sponsored Russian cyberattacks on their systems. The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and National Security Agency (NSA), issued Tuesday a joint cybersecurity advisory (CSA) detailing Russian cyber activities, outlining the threat, offering guidance for preparation, and encouraging vigilance. The advisory outlines precautions critical infrastructure organizations should take now to counter this threat including patching all systems, implementing multi-factor authentication, utilize ...
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The U.S. Department of the Treasury issued Thursday its final rule for the American Rescue Plan Act’s (ARPA) $350 billion Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (CSLFRF). While special districts are not eligible for direct CSLFRF funds, ARPA definitively authorizes states, counties, and cities to transfer funds that they receive to special districts. NSDC believes it is important to keep special district members informed on the latest developments so that districts can understand eligible uses of funds and whether a transfer request is appropriate. Accordingly, NSDC encourages special districts to communicate their eligible needs to their city, ...
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Special districts elevated their voice in Washington, DC, in 2021 as the National Special Districts Coalition (NSDC) formalized its federal advocacy program and doubled its membership! The Coalition is looking forward to further growth and opportunities in 2022! NSDC began its 2021 endeavors with the official establishment of its advocacy partnership with The Ferguson Group and Paragon Government Relations . Paired with its grassroots advocacy program, the Coalition solidified its membership structure, as outlined in a revised memorandum of understanding, and expanded beyond the original five founding special districts associations in California, Colorado, ...
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The federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration's (OSHA) emergency temporary standard (ETS) requiring workplace vaccinations for certain employers has been re-instated. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed Friday a lower court's nationwide injunction, which was instituted on November 6 . OSHA's ETS requires private employers with 100 or more employees to implement policies for workers to be fully vaccinated or submit weekly tests in lieu of vaccination. The ETS requires employers to implement policies by December 5 and for workers to be fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022; however, it is unknown at this time whether OSHA will ...
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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) workplace vaccination rule for healthcare providers providing Medicare and Medicaid services has been reinstated in 26 states. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth District ruled Wednesday that one preliminary injunction from a Missouri-based lower court applying to 10 states may stand, but a separate nationwide preliminary injunction placed in a lower Louisiana-based court is lifted in all states except for 14 involved in that particular lawsuit against the CMS rule. Per the ruling, the CMS rule remains in a holding pattern for NSDC's member states South Carolina, Utah, and Wyoming, as well as in ...
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The National Special Districts Coalition (NSDC), a coalition of state associations representing special districts providing essential public services in thousands of communities across the country, were pleased to meet with Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming offices in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate last month. Notably, NSDC Members had the honor of speaking with Wyoming Senators John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis. Coalition members provided important background on the wide-ranging services special districts provide constituents in the more than 30,000 communities they serve across the country. ...
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The National Special Districts Coalition is urging Senate leaders to move bipartisan legislation to reform federal hazard mitigation programs to better facilitate completion of much-needed mitigation projects. The Hazard Eligibility and Local Projects (HELP) Act of 2021 would reform the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to allow Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) hazard mitigation program-qualified projects to begin without risk of losing potential federal assistance. Eligible projects are too often caught in the regulatory process, leaving infrastructure critical to the continuity of public services vulnerable to ...
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A Louisiana federal judge granted Tuesday a preliminary injunction in 40 states of the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) rule requiring all workers in healthcare settings receiving CMS resources to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The Louisiana court's preliminary injunction covers all but those 10 states impacted in the Missouri v. Biden injunction, which includes Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. The ruling out of the U.S District Court for the Western District of Louisiana effectively pauses the rule's rollout nationwide. The rule's first benchmark was scheduled ...
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