CNCounty News

NACo Board approves 2023 legislative priorities

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Key Takeaways

The NACo Board of Directors adopted 11 legislative priorities Dec. 2 during their meeting hosted by NACo President Denise Winfrey of Will County, Ill.  The priorities are:

  • Restore the balance of federalism and optimize intergovernmental partnerships​.
  • Seize legislative opportunities to improve the implementation of the American Rescue Plan Act’s fiscal recovery funds.
  • Successful implementation of the county-related provisions of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Inflation Reduction Act and the CHIPS and Science Act.
  • Promote health equity by reforming the Medicaid Inmate Exclusion Policy, passage of mental health, substance use treatment legislation and consideration of other criminal justice reforms.
  • Secure the inclusion of county priorities in 2023 Farm Bill reauthorization.
  • Boost advanced broadband deployment and accessibility while preserving local decision-making.​
  • Support full funding for Payments In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program​.
  • Promote county priorities and local decision-making in future U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal rulemaking​.
  • Maintain election integrity and strengthen election worker safety​.
  • Enhance community resilience through regional and local disaster preparedness​.
  • Promote workforce and housing opportunities and supportive services for county residents to support economic recovery.


NACo Board hears from White House senior advisor

White House senior advisor Lukas McGowan told county officials that the latest bills passed by Congress and signed by the Biden administration “require county partnerships.” 

One program that the federal government is partnering with counties on, he noted, is the Federal Communications Commission’s affordable broadband connectivity program.

“This was a critical tool that was made much better by a consultation process with counties that really identifies where broadband access is falling behind,” he noted.

“Where do we make investments in your counties to make sure that households and businesses have what they need?”

Housing is another top issue that McGowan said he hears about a lot from county officials.

“There is not a meeting I have with a county official where housing doesn’t come up in some form or fashion,” he said.

“Whether it’s unsheltered homelessness, the high cost of rent and rent-burdened households, the creation of new affordable housing units…we’re about one-and-a-half million units in the hole in this country. Or allowing residents in your communities that important first step to personal home ownership.”

McGowan also touched on elections and the American Rescue Plan Act.

“In terms of elections and election infrastructure, there’s no story I don’t read where I don’t think of you and all of your teams who are really on the front lines.”

In 2023, McGowan stressed the importance of counties getting the word out about the “successful deployments” by counties of ARPA funds.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we need to hear your stories of successful deployments, showing that you’re good stewards of the money…investing in transformative economic development, public safety, workforce, housing — whatever it is you’re doing, we want to hear about it.”

NACo Board members also heard from Elizabeth Archuleta, director of external and intergovernmental affairs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

As a former county supervisor in Coconino County, Ariz., for 24 years, she said she liked to “keep up” with goings-on at NACo and enjoyed seeing new faces in the crowd.

Archuleta highlighted several USDA programs including changes to the Special Supplement Nutrition Program for Women and Children.

USDA is proposing changes that allow for greater flexibility to accommodate personal and cultural food preferences and special dietary needs, she said.

Archuleta also noted the expansion of the Rural Partners Network in 17 communities. The Rural Partners Network is an alliance of federal agencies and commissions working directly with rural communities to expand rural prosperity through job creation, infrastructure development, and community improvements.

Community liaisons will live and work in the rural communities they serve, allowing them to develop partnerships. The liaisons are full-time federal staff members assigned to give technical assistance tailored to each community’s need, Archuleta noted.

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