County Countdown – Nov. 20, 2023

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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 on some of the top issues we're covering this week.

1. Mental Health

NACo continues to champion mental health policies in Congress to support counties and residents.

  • Continuity of care: A recent letter to leaders on Capitol Hill reiterated county priorities in mental health, including urging passage of the Due Process Continuity of Care Act, advocating for Medicaid benefits for pre-trial detainees.
  • Workforce development: The letter also pushed for increased funding for programs to recruit and retain behavioral health workers.
  • What’s next: NACo’s Commission on Mental Health and Wellbeing is working with Congress to reform mental health policies that exclude vulnerable populations.

2. Operation Green Light

Thank you to the hundreds of counties, plus our intergovernmental partners, businesses and individuals, who participated in Operation Green Light for Veterans.

  • Bipartisan support: Congressional resolutions in both the House and Senate recognized Operation Greenlight and the vital role of County Veterans Services Officers (CVSOs).
  • CVSO Act: In 29 states, county-funded CVSOs help veterans access over $50B annually in VA benefits. NACo urges the passage of the CVSO Act to secure federal resources to support this work.
  • Explore highlights: Check out the Operation Green Light showcase for pictures submitted by counties – and submit yours!

3. Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

As we mark the two-year anniversary of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), NACo is ensuring that counties have a voice in its implementation.

4. Support for Rural America

U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) introduced the Rural Partnership and Prosperity Act.

  • Addressing community needs: The bill would create a grant program to address needs like affordable child care, housing and job training, as well as providing guidance to help rural communities navigate existing funding opportunities.
  • NACo's endorsement: NACo urges swift passage of this legislation, which will enable rural counties to optimize federal resources.

5. American Rescue Plan

The U.S. Treasury Department introduced a new rule clarifying counties' use of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, further extending the reach of these resources.

Key points for counties: Counties can now allocate funds for administrative costs tied to ARPA reporting and compliance.
Clarifying responsibilities: Details on managing sub-recipient obligations offer counties more flexibility for effective resource utilization.

Dive deeper on ARPA: Explore all of NACo’s ARPA resources here.

Featured this Week

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Program

NACo Commission on Mental Health and Wellbeing

Launched in February 2023, the NACo Commission on Mental Health and Wellbeing brings together county leaders from across the nation to take action to address the ever-growing mental health crisis from the county government perspective.

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County News

Highlights from 2023 Operation Green Light for Veterans

Counties across the country are joining Operation Green Light for Veterans  to shine a light on the issues veterans face and highlight the resources available to veterans at the county, state and federal levels.

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Implementing Infrastructure Investments at the County Level: The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (P.L. 117-58)

On November 15, 2021, President Biden enacted the five-year, $973 billion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, formally known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

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Advocacy

Senators introduce bipartisan legislation to level playing field for rural communities

Senators introduced the Rural Partnership and Prosperity Act, bipartisan legislation intended to advance economic development in rural counties and overcome barriers to obtaining federal funding and resources. 

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

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Prevention to Treatment: Substance Use Disorder Solution Strategies

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NACo Cyberattack Simulation: Financial Access

Financial transaction systems are prime targets for cyber threats due to the value and sensitivity of the data. This cyber simulation assesses risks and fortifies safeguards within financial access systems.

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Joint Board of Directors, Large Urban County Caucus and Rural Action Caucus Symposium

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NACo’s fall symposium, jointly hosted by the Board of Directors, Large Urban County Caucus (LUCC) and Rural Action Caucus (RAC), will feature mobile workshops and engaging opportunities for all counties.