County Countdown – July 1, 2024

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Every other week, NACo’s County Countdown reviews top federal policy advocacy items with an eye towards counties and the intergovernmental partnership.

Watch the video above and explore NACo resources below.

Supreme Court Decisions

The Supreme Court is deciding several cases with implications for counties.

  • Chiaverini v. Ohio: Addressing probable cause and malicious prosecution claims, this decision will not significantly impact counties’ ability to defend against claims of malicious prosecution.
  • Gonzalez v. Trevino: The ruling could change the standard of evidence needed for an arrest to be considered retaliatory. Counties should review law enforcement policies to guard against increased litigation while maintaining the ability to defend against frivolous claims.
  • Oregon v. Johnson: While not decided as of this week's filming, a decision was handed down on Friday, June 28. For the latest updates, check out NACo’s Supreme Court Advocacy Hub.

Fire and Emergency Services

Congress recently passed the Fire Grants and Safety Act, which extended the Assistance to Firefighters Grant and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response programs.

  • Crucial support: Pending President Biden’s signature, final passage ensures continued federal support for local fire departments, allocating $750 million annually to maintain safety and emergency response capabilities in counties nationwide.
  • Extended programs: These crucial programs, facing a statutory termination date of September 30, 2024, have now been extended to September 30, 2030.

Improving the Child Welfare System

Counties employ 257,000 human services workers nationwide and invest over $62 billion annually in federal, state and local funds into safety net services.

  • Zoom in: This includes implementing federal and state policies surrounding prevention and response to child abuse and neglect.
  • The county role: Counties in 11 states are wholly or partially responsible for administering the child welfare system.
  • New resource: NACo has a new resource that makes policy recommendations for transforming and improving the child welfare system nationwide.

Behavioral Health Clinics

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced that 10 new states have joined the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) Medicaid Demonstration Program.

  • New states: The new states include Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Vermont.
  • Program expansion: Enabled by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, this expansion allows HHS to add 10 new states to the CCBHC program every two years.
  • Impact on counties: Counties in these states will benefit from increased Medicaid funding, improved public health and more efficient use of healthcare resources.

Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT)

The Department of the Interior has announced $621.2 million in PILT funding for 2024, a $42.4 million increase from last year.

  • Dig deeper: A complete list of funding by state and county is available here. You can also check NACo’s County Explorer to see detailed county-by-county information on PILT funding levels.
  • Essential services: PILT payments help local governments in public lands counties provide essential services such as firefighting, police protection, public school construction and search and rescue operations.

Featured This Week

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Advocacy

Supreme Court Update: Chiaverini vs. City of Napoleon

The county perspective on a case involving malicious prosecution

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Advocacy

Supreme Court Update: Gonzalez v. Trevino

The county perspective on a case involving retaliatory arrests

Firefighter
Advocacy

Congress reauthorizes critical SAFER and AFG grants until 2030

On June 18, Congress took a significant step in supporting local fire departments across the nation by passing the Fire Grants and Safety Act. Pending President Biden’s signature, final passage ensures the continuation and enhancement of the AFG and SAFER grant programs.

Mother laughing with young daughter

County Policy Priorities for Transforming the Child Welfare System

Regardless of population size, geography and available resources, counties are deeply invested in our residents’ health and well-being. Every day, we provide services that help vulnerable individuals and families thrive, functioning as an integral part of the federal, state and local partnership in human service delivery.

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Advocacy

Ten states added to the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics Medicaid Demonstration Program

On June 4, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through CMS and SAMHSA, announced that ten new states have joined the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic Medicaid Demonstration Program.

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Advocacy

Department of the Interior announces PILT funding total of over $621 million will be distributed to counties

On June 26, the Department of the Interior announced that more than 1,900 state and local governments around the country will receive a total of $621.2 million in Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) funding for 2024.

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King County, Wash. Executive Dow Constantine discusses the final report of the NACo Commission on Mental Health and Wellbeing July 13 at the Opening General Session as his co-chair, Los Angeles County, Calif. Supervisor Kathryn Barger and other commission members look on. Photo by Denny Henry
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Policy priorities to improve mental health unveiled in NACo commission final report

The NACo Commission on Mental Health and Wellbeing outlined its policy priorities to improve mental health in its final report unveiled Saturday, July 13 at the Annual Conference.

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Child welfare program asks families: ‘What do you need?’ before their breaking point

Stearns County, Minn. let families tell the system the support they need and bring together all of the stakeholders to make that possible.

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Join NACo to discuss how to leverage cross-system partnerships to address root causes leading to justice involvement.