This week was a busy one in state capitals around the United States. Of note, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gave his backing to lawmakers hoping to review the 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement District Act that provides Disney with the authority to govern their own land. In other news, Michigan Gov Whitmer vetoed a suspension of the state’s 27-cent-per-gallon tax on gasoline, New Mexico approved legislation proving $500 for residents ($1,000 for households), and lawmakers in Pennsylvania failed to override Gov. Tom Wolf’s veto of legislation that would have prevented the Commonwealth from entering the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
This week, Alabama lawmakers approved legislation to exempt the state income tax up to $6,000 in taxable retirement income for those over the age of 65.
Last month, the State of Illinois made $131 million in legal weed sales. However, none of that marijuana was grown or produced by new state license winners trying to break into the industry and with the legislative session ending this week, it could be another year until there are new products on cannabis dispensaries’ shelves.
Earlier this week, Gov. Andy Beshear signed a religious freedom bill that was largely a GOP response to his actions in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, prohibiting government discrimination against churches during a state of emergency.
Gov. Phil Murphy is sitting on more than $3 billion in unspent federal COVID relief dollars, and his latest state budget proposal removes the state Legislature’s oversight of those funds, fueling concerns from lawmakers of both parties.
Pennsylvania’s state Senate failed at the beginning of this week to override Gov. Tom Wolf’s veto of a resolution that would prevent Pennsylvania from joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, known as RGGI, which would tax CO2 emissions.
Gov. Kristi Noem this week signed an executive order instructing the Department of Education to review teacher trainings, content standards and other educational materials to ensure they do not contain “divisive concepts” on race.
Responding to the recent announcement that the Biden administration will lift a pandemic-era immigration policy that allows authorities to turn away migrants, Gov. Greg Abbott proposed placing Texas state troopers in riot gear to meet migrants at the border and bus them straight to the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Abbott unveiled a stunning plan that sent a shockwave through the immigration rights community: Texas would place state troopers in riot gear to meet migrants at the border and bus them straight to the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., where he said the Biden administration “will be able to more immediately address the needs of the people that they are allowing to come across our border.”
Did you know flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States? Since the start of the 21st century, flood-related disasters have caused more than $850 billion in damage and losses. There have been various policy initiatives – at both the federal and state levels – to help combat the effects of flooding. Such initiatives include legislation related to flood mitigation, which would help prepare communities for, and reduce, the impacts of floods.
On March 15, 2022, President Joe Biden signed H.R. 2471, the Omnibus Appropriations Package for Fiscal 2022, into law, funding the federal government through September 30, 2022. The $1.5 trillion government funding measure passed boosts non-defense spending by 6.7%, defense funds by 5.6%, and includes earmarks for the first time since their 2011 ban. The omnibus also provided $13.6 billion in emergency funding for Ukraine.
Capital and Capitol Happenings: Staff on the Move, Promotions, and More
Justin Bernbach: new Vice President, Government Relations, HNTB
Jon Ros Grayson: new Vice President, Government Relations, HCA Healthcare
Matthew Russell: new Manager of Communications & Strategic Engagement, Texas Education Agency
Chris Borgerding: new Director of Government Relations, Association of Dental Support Organizations
Colin O’Shea: new Senior Account Executive, FiscalNote
Christine Csizmadia: new Senior Director, State Government Affairs & Advocacy, Nuclear Energy Institute
Alexandra Costello: new Vice President, Government Relations, American Gaming Association
Harrison Nantz: new Legislative Director, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Happy Birthdays This Week
Charlie McLaughlin: Director of Commonwealth Relations, University of Pittsburgh
Angela Zaydon: Midwest Regional Director of Government Affairs, Cresco Labs
Dy Reed: Lead State Government Affairs Manager, Washington Gas
Larry Dicke: EVP & CFO, California Chamber of Commerce
Philip Moore: Governmental Affairs Director, Southwest Airlines
Sarah Crockett: Director of Public Policy, Texas CASA
Jason Wagner: Director of Policy and Government Relations, Associated Pennsylvania Constructors