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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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. 

Related News

Highways
Advocacy

Counties directly eligible for $5.2 billion in competitive transportation grants

Counties are directly eligible for $5.2 billion in competitive transportation grants.

Project management
Advocacy

White House OMB releases final revisions federal Uniform Guidance (2 CFR Part 200)

The White House OMB released final revisions to the federal Uniform Guidance that outline compliance and reporting requirements for federal financial assistance.

Train
Advocacy

Counties directly eligible for $2.4 billion through USDOT rail safety improvement program

Counties are directly eligible for $2.4 billion through USDOT rail safety improvement program.

Treasury Department
Advocacy

Treasury Department releases new obligation guidance for the ARPA State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund

On March 29, the U.S. Department of Treasury released new FAQs related to their Obligation Interim Final Rule for the ARPA Recovery Fund.

Tax and finance
Advocacy

Internal Revenue Service pilots free direct tax filing program in 12 states

On March 12, the IRS launched Direct File, a new pilot through which eligible taxpayers in 12 states can file their taxes for free using a simplified tool. 

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Advocacy

FCC takes critical steps to improve the 988 National Suicide Lifeline

On March 21, bipartisan congressional leaders and FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced steps to improve the 988 National Suicide Lifeline. This announcement marks major progress on the nation’s crisis response, a priority for counties and a key policy pillar of the NACo Commission on Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Upcoming Events

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Webinar

NACo Listening Session: ARPA State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund Obligation Updates and Reporting Requirements

Join NACo for a presentation on these crucial updates and their implications for counties, ensuring you're informed and equipped to navigate SLFRF guidelines effectively.

Treasury Department
Webinar

Counties and the Inflation Reduction Act: Elective Pay Update

On March 5, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) issued final regulations for the elective pay mechanism established in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Using elective pay, also known as direct pay, counties and other tax-exempt entities can monetize certain clean energy tax credits that they have previously been unable to access due to their lack of tax liability. On March 5, Treasury also unveiled a new proposed rule to provide criteria regarding the eligibility of certain ownership structures to claim elective pay. During this webinar, counties will hear from Treasury and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on these new regulations and other funding opportunities available under IRA.

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Webinar

Modernizing County Finance with Digital Disbursements

This session will provide an in-depth overview of the successful pilot project by Knox County, Ill., the National Association of Counties (NACo), and Visa, sharing how they delivered fast and secure payments to county election judges and jurors.

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Webinar

Protected Retirement Solutions for County Employees

Employees are looking to employers for guaranteed income solutions. This workshop will focus on key strategies and solutions available to employees through 457(b) Supplemental Retirement Plans such as the Protected Retirement Solutions suite of investment products.

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Webinar

Transitions of Care in Mental Health

In this presentation, we will: define a successful transition of care for adults with schizophrenia, review barriers to a successful transition, highlight specific examples of successful transitional care programs, explore how a multidisciplinary/collaborative approach can support successful transitions, and identify actionable strategies for potential implementation.

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Webinar

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.