The NACo Board of Directors adopted seven legislative priorities for 2019 and established a new subcommittee for parks at its fall meeting Dec. 7-8 in San Diego County, Calif.
The Environment, Energy and Land Use Steering Committee will now include a subcommittee for parks, open space and trails. President Greg Cox, who proposed the addition, said it would have no fiscal impact on NACo’s operations.
“Parks open space and trail something all of us look at as an integral part of our communities,” Cox said. “They’re promoting healthy living, promoting people getting out and exercising,” “They certainly have economic benefits. I think this is the sort of thing we should focus on as a national organization, particularly as funding sources become available.”
The year’s legislative priorities are not dramatic changes for NACo, with most reflecting the association’s long-term mission. The priorities include:
The Farm Bill - NACo supports full funding for all Farm Bill titles.
Broadband Deployment - NACo urges Congress and federal agencies to recognize counties as co-regulators, providers and partners in extending telecommunications and broadband technology. Federal policymakers should support the local decision making and accountability of local officials and oppose any actions that would preempt or limit the zoning or siting authority of local governments.
A more effective definition of Waters of the U.S. - NACo calls on Congress and the administration to develop and implement a new, more practical Waters of the U.S. definition in consultation and collaboration with state and local governments.
Infrastructure - NACo supports ensuring any federal infrastructure package reflects county priorities, including allocating more federal seed capital and matching funds for locally-owned infrastructure, increasing local decision-making authority and flexibility and streamlining and shortening the federal permitting process while still requiring robust public participation and environmental stewardship
PILT and SRS - NACo supports restoring full mandatory funding for the Payments in Lieu of Taxes program and extending the Secure Rural Schools program until the federal government implements a sustainable, long-term forest management program with adequate revenue sharing for forest counties and schools.
Mental health, substance abuse treatment and criminal justice reform - NACo supports new policies and approaches that would enhance the ability of county officials and partners to prevent and treat mental health and substance abuse disorders in the community and within the criminal justice system.
Economic mobility and opportunity - NACo supports federal investments and policies that help advance and leverage regional and local strategies focused on serving those most in need, including those addressing the root causes of poverty.