APWA Washington Report – June 26, 2017

June 26, 2017                                             Share:

**Due to the upcoming July 3-7 Congressional district work period, the next edition of the APWA Washington Report will be sent out on July 10. We hope you have a safe and fun July 4th holiday.

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LATEST NEWS

New FEMA Administrator Confirmed

  • William ‘Brock’ Long was confirmed last week by the U.S. Senate to serve as the next Administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA);
  • Mr. Long was confirmed by a vote of 95-4 and was sworn in on June 23;
  • Mr. Long previously served as the Director for the Alabama Emergency Management Agency and, most recently as the Executive Vice President of Hagerty Consulting, an emergency management firm;
  • As the Administrator of FEMA, Mr. Long oversees the coordination of the Federal Government’s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made;
  • For more information about Administrator Long, please click here.

House Passes Legislation to Streamline Water Storage Projects

  • Last week, the House voted 230-188 to approve the Water Supply Permitting Coordination Act (H.R. 1654);
  • If enacted, H.R. 1654 would create a ‘one-stop-shop’ permitting process through the Bureau of Reclamation;
  • The Bureau of Reclamation, which is under the Department of the Interior, would be tasked with streamlining the current multi-agency permitting processes and expediting construction of all new or expanded non-federal surface water storage facilities;
  • Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) introduced a companion bill (S. 677) in the Senate in April;
  • For more information about the legislation, click here.

Interior Department Seeks Input on Regulatory Reform

  • The Department of the Interior established a Regulatory Reform Task Force this past March and is now requesting input from the public on ways it can improve implementation of regulatory reform initiatives and policies;
  • Specifically, the Department is requesting input on regulations that may be considered for repeal, replacement or modification;
  • This move is part of President Trump’s initiative across federal agencies to alleviate unnecessary burdens as outlined by Executive Order 13777;
  • More information may be found at regulations.gov and comments/input will be evaluated by the Department on an ongoing basis.

Committee Advances Multiple National Flood Insurance Program bills

  • Last Week the House Financial Services Committee approved seven bills aiming to make changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP);
  • The Committee ultimately plans to consolidate aspects from each of the measures into one comprehensive bill to be considered by the House in July;
  • Highlights of the legislation include ensuring community accountability for areas repeatedly damaged by floods, and repealing the mandatory flood insurance coverage requirement for commercial properties located in flood hazard areas;
  • The NFIP is set to expire September 30, 2017, and language to reauthorize the program for five years is included for consideration;
  • To view text of each of the bills, click here.

House Plans Vote on Disaster Assistance Legislation

  • This week the House will vote on H.R. 1684, the Disaster Assistance Support for Communities and Homeowners Act of 2017;
  • The bill was introduced by Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and will be considered under suspension of the rules (a procedural maneuver to quickly pass non-controversial bills);
  • If enacted, the bill would direct the FEMA Administrator to provide technical assistance to a common interest community providing essential services of a governmental nature;
  • There is currently no companion legislation in the Senate;
  • To view the text of H.R. 1684, click here.

Update on FirstNet ‘Opt Out’

  • Last week the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved guidelines for states seeking to opt-out of the FirstNet program;
  • FirstNet is an independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce created through the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Public Law 112-96;
  • The mission of FirstNet is to develop, build, and operate a dedicated nationwide broadband communications network for first responders;
  • The law does contain a provision allowing states to ‘opt out’ of the Network and submit an alternative plan, provided it is fully interoperable with the FirstNet network;
  • To view a copy of the procedural guidelines approved by the FCC, click here.

ON THE HORIZON

  • On June 27 at 9:30 am ET, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies has scheduled a hearing to examine the fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget request for the Environmental Protection Agency–click here for more information;
  • On June 27 at 10:00 am ET, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee has scheduled a hearing to examine legislation focused on self-driving vehicles—click here for more information;
  • On June 28 at 10 am ET, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration has scheduled a markup to examine the FY 2018 Agriculture Appropriations bill–click here for more information;
  • On June 28 at 11 am ET, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies has scheduled a markup on the FY 2018 Energy and Water Appropriations bill–click here for more information;
  • On June 28 at 2:30 pm ET, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development has scheduled a hearing to review the FY 2018 budget request for the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation–click here for more information;

On June 29 at 9:30 am ET, the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee has scheduled a hearing titled, “Conservation and Forestry: Perspectives on the Past and Future Direction for the 2018 Farm Bill”–click here for more information.