County Countdown – June 3, 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.

Farm Bill

Congress is advancing on the Farm Bill reauthorization, with consensus on key elements beneficial to rural development and federal nutrition programs.

  • County priorities: Both the U.S. House and Senate agree on crucial funding for rural and nutrition programs, with the House proposing a three-year extension for the Secure Rural Schools program.
  • Take action: As this bill moves through the legislative process, read about county priorities for the Farm Bill and make sure your member of Congress knows where your county stands.

Michelle Alyssa Go Act

NACo endorses the Michelle Alyssa Go Act to expand Medicaid-eligible psychiatric care, addressing gaps in mental health and substance use disorder treatment.

  • Legislative focus: The bill aims to modernize the outdated Institutions for Mental Disease exclusion, facilitating better access to long-term psychiatric care.
  • Bipartisan progress: This legislation represents a significant bipartisan effort to enhance mental health services and lower barriers to comprehensive treatment.
  • NACo's advocacy: By supporting this bill, NACo highlights the urgent need to remove federal restrictions that hinder effective mental health services.

AI and Election Administration

As counties prepare for the 2024 General Election, NACo is working with our federal partners to ensure election officials have the resources necessary to address risks and leverage opportunities related to artificial intelligence (AI).

HOME Program Updates

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) new rule aims to modernize the HOME Investment Partnership Program, enhancing counties' ability to address the housing affordability crisis.

  • About HOME: The program provides formula grants to counties and states and is used to build, buy, or rehabilitate affordable housing for rent or homeownership, as well as fund direct rental assistance to low-income individuals.
  • Proposed changes: The rule introduces significant modifications to streamline funding application and implementation.
  • Public feedback: Stakeholders are encouraged to submit comments on the proposed changes by July 29, 2024.

Featured This Week

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Advocacy

House, Senate Agriculture Committees release frameworks for 2024 Farm Bill Reauthorization

After months of negotiations and gridlock, lawmakers on the House and Senate Agriculture Committees have released competing frameworks for the 2024 Farm Bill.

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Advocacy

Senate Rules Committee considers elections and AI legislation ahead of 2024 General Elections

Senate Rules Committee held business meeting on May 15 to markup and consider legislation on the role of artificial intelligence in elections.

Neighborhood
Advocacy

HUD issues proposed rule to modernize the HOME program

On May 29, HUD issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to modernize the HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME) and enable counties to implement funding more efficiently.

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Artificial intelligence teases agricultural “revolution”

A University of Florida researcher sees great potential for artificial intellligence to help overcome agriculture's labor shortage.

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Most foreign-owned ag land remains in friendly hands

Despite cycles of concern about foreign ownership, less than 4% of U.S. private agricultural land is owned by foreign entities, and only 12 states have enacted laws limiting foreign ownership.

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National Association of Counties launches economic mobility program for rural counties

The National Association of Counties (NACo) today announced the creation of Rural Leaders for Economic Mobility (RLEM), a national program with teams of 10 county elected officials and 10 non-elected county leaders to pursue effective strategies to improve economic mobility conditions that move individuals and families out of poverty. 

Upcoming Events

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Powerful Partnerships: How Coal Communities and Utility Companies are Working Together

Join the BRECC National Network this July and learn how utility providers and local governments are working together to mitigate and respond to economic shocks. 

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Building a Behavioral Health Continuum of Care: The Role of Rural Leaders and Behavioral Health Directors

This webinar is hosted by the National Association of Counties (NACo) in partnership with the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Development Disability Directors (NACBHDD).

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Prevention to Treatment: Substance Use Disorder Solution Strategies

Our discussion will cover what's available, what's currently working, differences in approach, and potential strategies for various populations including the underserved population.