Congress Passes $1 Trillion Short Term Spending Bill, Goes on Break

After failing to pass the 12 budget bills before the October 1st fiscal year began, Congress enacted a $1 Trillion short term spending measure to avoid a government shutdown. Congress is now on recess for the mid-term campaign season. The short term budget extension sunsets on December 11th, ensuring Congress comes back for a lame duck session.

Summer Minnick is the Director of Policy Initiatives and Federal Affairs. She can be reached at 517-908-0301 or sminnick@mml.org.

EPA Extends Deadline to Submit Comments on Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Power Plants

The Environmental Protection Agency has extended the deadline to submit comments on the proposed plan to regulate greenhouse gas emissions for existing power plants to December 1st, from October 16th.

Click here to access additional information on the proposal and to submit comments.

Summer Minnick is the Director of Policy Initiatives and Federal Affairs. She can be reached at 517-908-0301 or sminnick@mml.org.

National League of Cities Announce Applications Open for Committee and Leadership Positions

Have you been involved in NLC before but want to take it to a new level? Are you considering expanding your professional involvement for the first time? If you are a member city of NLC, now is the time to submit an application!

The incoming NLC President will appoint chairs and vice chairs to NLC’s Policy and Advocacy Committees; the Council on Youth, Education, and Families; the International Council; the Large Cities Council; the Military Communities Council; the First Tier Suburbs Council; the Small Cities Council; and the University Communities Council.

City officials from NLC member cities who are interested in serving as Chairs and Vice Chairs should complete and submit online applications and biographical statements by October 3. Committee chairs and vice chairs will be notified of their selection in late October or early November.

Steering Committee Membership Positions Open

In addition, the incoming President will appoint city officials to be members of the Policy and Advocacy Steering Committees, the University Communities Council Steering Committee; and the Small Cities Council Steering Committee.

City officials from NLC member cities who are interested in serving as members on one of these Committees should complete and submit online applications by November 24. The Steering Committee appointments will be announced in December.

All appointments will be for a one year term.

 

Webinar This Thursday on EPA’s proposed rule to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under Clean Air Act

This Thursday, September 18th from 1-2 pm the State and Local Legal Center will be hosting a webinar on the legal issues raised by EPA’s proposed rule to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. This webinar will be particularly helpful to those who are in the process of drafting comments, which are due on Oct. 16. There is no pre-registration for the webinar; simply click here at the appropriate time and sign in as a guest.

EPA has invited comment on a number of issues that may have legal implications for states. Given the compliance obligations this rule will create for states, the National Governors Association has worked with the SLLC to develop a presentation that will provide states with an opportunity to explore topics that will most directly affect them. Some of these topics will be addressed in the webinar and include:

o   State-level considerations for regional compliance and a legal roadmap for how states could join together to develop a regional consortium to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

o   Whether states can legally adopt multiple approaches to reducing carbon emissions, including approaches that are rate based, mass based, market based, or some combination of those three.

o   The authority for states to implement approaches outside of reductions at individual power plants (regardless of the legal interpretation at the federal level), or whether states need internal authority to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through other measures like regional agreements or the implementation of energy efficiency measures through 111(d).

o   The ability of states to adjust the specific percentage by which they must reduce their carbon emissions by 2030.

Roger Martella,, a former General Counsel for the EPA and current partner with the law firm of Sidley Austin, will lead the discussion and answer questions.

Summer Minnick is the Director of Policy Initiatives and Federal Affairs. She can be reached at 517-908-0301 or sminnick@mml.org.

Congress Passes Temporary Transportation Spending Bill

Hours before adjourning for their August recess, the US Senate passed the House version of the temporary spending bill to prevent the insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund and the continued authorization of MAP-21 through May 2015. The Senate had tried to shorten the time frame, hoping to force the discussion on long term solutions sooner rather than later, but had to concede at the end of the day. The bill, which passed on a 81-13 vote, inserts $11 Billion into the fund from a variety of sources, including pension smoothing. The League supports a long term solution to transportation funding, and is hopeful that after years of extensions, a serious discussion on the ongoing funding of our nation’s infrastructure will be had in the coming months.

Summer Minnick is the Director of Policy Initiatives and Federal Affairs. She can be reached at 517-908-0301 or sminnicki@mml.org.

 

Senate Passes Their Version of Temporary Federal Transportation Funding

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The US Senate voted last night to pass their version of a short term extension of MAP-21 and some federal funds to cover the expenses of the Highway Trust Fund, which is set to run out of money within days or weeks. Last week, the House passed a version that would have made the extension through May 2015. However, the Senate yesterday added some pressure by only funding transportation until December 19, 2014. Therefore, creating a greater sense of urgency to come up with a long term plan to fund that nation’s infrastructure. The House now has only two days to accept the changes to continue to try and negotiate before they leave for August recess at the conclusion of session this Thursday, July 31st.

Summer Minnick is the Director of Policy Initiatives and Federal Affairs. She can be reached at 517-908-0301 or sminnick@mml.org.

Temporary Fix for Federal Transportation Crisis Passes House

Last week, the House of Representatives passed a temporary spending bill that would fund the Highway Trust Fund and extend MAP-21 until May 2015. The bill, HR 5021, would inject $10.9 Billion into the fund, which was projected to run out of money within weeks. The House’s proposal gets the funding from “pension smoothing,” customs user fees, and an account which was set to be used for leaking underground storage tanks.The bill now heads to the Senate for passage. There are positive indications that the Senate will support the measure, as there are only two weeks left until Congress leaves for their August recess.

Summer Minnick is the Director of Policy Initiatives and Federal Affairs. She can be reached at 517-908-0301 or sminnick@mml.org.

New MEDC Grant – Public Spaces Community Places – Application Process Open

Applications are now live for the new crowdfunding place-based grant program! The Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the League have teamed up with Patronicity, a locally-based crowdfunding platform, to develop Public Spaces Community Places, a new matching grant program for place-based initiatives that utilize crowdfnding. Through Patronicity, communities and non-profits can raise donations to revitalize or create public spaces, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation will match funds raised dollar for dollar, up to $100,000, if they can reach their goal. Crowdfunding is an easy and innovative way for community projects to gain public interest and raise money by being able to leverage donations of all sizes.

This is the first program of its kind in the country, where local residents can be part of the development of transformational projects in their communities and be backed with matching dollars by the State. The grant program is available to municipalities and non-profits for projects that focus on activation of public spaces such as an outdoor plaza or park enhancements, alley activation, etc.

You can find the application guide on CrowdfundingMI.com. For the online application, click here.

Summer Minnick is the Director of Policy Initiatives and Federal Affairs. She can be reached at 517-908-0301 or sminnick@mml.org.

Federal Transportation Department Tells State Transportation Departments Money is Running Out

US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has sent a letter to all State Department of Transportation Directors letting them know that because of the funding shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund, reduced payments to states will begin starting August 1st absent Congressional action in order to manage cash flow. The letter is attached below.

There is still no solution agreed upon by Congress. However, the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees leadership are meeting to focus on a short term fix that will fund transportation through the end of the fiscal year. The Congressional Budget Office has been warning officials that the Trust Fund would be insolvent in August for the past year. We will continue to keep you posted as this issue progresses and as further impacts are known.

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Summer Minnick is the Director of Policy Initiatives and Federal Affairs. She can be reached at 517-908-0301 or sminnick@mml.org.

Award for Enterprising City/State for Sustainable Transportation Available through MobiPrize Until July 7th!

MobiPrize, an award program through SMART (Sustainable Mobility & Accessibility Research and Transformation) at the University of Michigan, has added a City/State category to their sustainable transportation awards this year. The deadline for the applications is July 7th. The award is for cities that have demonstrated active efforts to build a culture of innovation and encourage entrepreneurship in sustainable transportation through enabling policy changes, capacity building, data sharing, funding (ppp) and other resource allocation efforts, etc.

To access the flyer with additional details, click here. And, to visit the website, click here.

Summer Minnick is the Director of Policy initiatives and Federal Affairs. She can be reached at 517-908-0301 or sminnick@mml.org.