ISACo Federal Legislative Update for June 28, 2023

6/28/2023 Joe McCoy

This ISACo Federal Legislative Update lists 2023 PILT payments for Illinois counties, includes U.S. Treasury Department (Treasury) guidance on accessing Clean Energy Tax Credits, conveys that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is accepting applications for the Safe Streets for All Grant Program, shares information about the Rural and Tribal Assistance Pilot Program, informs about a Notice of Funding Opportunity through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the Consumer Electronics Battery Recycling, Reprocessing and Battery Collection Program, makes counties aware of bipartisan legislation concerning Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorizations, provides an update on investments established by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) and shares information about a recent Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) decision that could expose states and local governments with Medicaid-funded nursing homes to litigation. 

U.S. Department of the Interior Announces PILT Payments to Counties for 2023

On June 15, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced that $578.8 million will be distributed to counties in 2023 through the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program.

Illinois received a total of almost $1.5 million allocated among 45 counties eligible for PILT payments. The list of counties and amount each received is available via this link.

The PILT program provides payments to counties and other local governments to offset losses in tax revenues due to the presence of substantial federal lands within their jurisdictions. 62% of counties, parishes and boroughs nationwide have federal lands within their borders. The formula used to compute the payments is based on population, revenue-sharing payments, and the amount of Federal land within an affected county.

Additional information is available on the DOI website

Treasury Department Releases Guidance on Accessing Clean Energy Tax Credits Under Inflation Reduction Act

On June 14, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a proposed rule on the new elective pay mechanism established in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The elective pay mechanism provides a new pathway for tax-exempt entities, including counties, to access certain clean energy tax incentives that have previously only been available to taxpayers. The proposed rule outlines how counties can choose to make an elective payment. In addition to the proposed rule on elective pay, Treasury and IRS also released a proposed rule describing how eligible taxpayers can transfer certain clean energy tax credits to unrelated parties. Comments on both proposed rules are due August 14.

Additional information is available via this link

Safe Streets for All Funding Deadline

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is accepting applications from municipalities, counties and metropolitan planning organizations for the Safe Streets for All (SS4A) Grant Program. SS4A was established through IIJA to help communities plan and carry out projects that will reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on highways, streets and roads. Applicants may apply individually or join with other communities in a single application. The SS4A Notice of Funding Opportunity and more information can be found on DOT’s website (available via this link). The deadline to apply is Monday, July 10, at 4:00 p.m. CST.

Rural and Tribal Assistance Pilot Program
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) has established the Rural and Tribal Assistance Pilot Program that makes $10 million available during the next five years to support legal, technical and financial advisors to help advance infrastructure projects. A Notice of Funding Opportunity (available via this link) was recently issued with a total of $3.4 million in funding available. Eligible applicants include states, local governments and Tribal governments. More information on the Rural and Tribal Assistance Pilot Program, including a previously recorded webinar, can be found on DOT’s website (available via this link).

Consumer Electronics Battery Recycling, Reprocessing and Battery Collection Program
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Consumer Electronics Battery Recycling, Reprocessing and Battery Collection Program. The program will provide funding to support the recycling of consumer electronic batteries and battery-containing devices to help build the material supply chain needed for electric vehicle batteries. Eligible applicants include state and local governments, non-profit organizations and institutions of higher education. A total of $125 million will be available during the next five years. The deadline for concept papers is Thursday, August 17, at 4:00 p.m. CST. The deadline for full applications is Wednesday, November 29, at 4:00 p.m. CST. More information about the program can be found in this press release from DOE.

U.S. House and Senate Introduce Bipartisan FAA Authorizations

In June 2023, U.S. House and Senate congressional committees with jurisdiction over the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) introduced bipartisan reauthorization bills. The bills are similar but differ in key ways, including titles, funding levels and page numbers.

Typically, the FAA reauthorization occurs every five years – though not without help from short-term extensions – and sets funding allocations for aviation programs, including for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and the Essential Air Service (EAS) Program and the Small Community Air Service Development Program (SCASDP), that directly impact county-supported airports. The current law, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-254), will expire on September 30, 2023.

Additional information is available via this link

Mental Health Investments for Gun Violence Prevention
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced in a press release steps to advance investments established by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA). BSCA established mental health investments and actions designed to prevent and respond to gun violence and expand access to high-quality mental health services and community violence interventions.
HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and ED Secretary Miguel Cardona sent a letter to all governors highlighting resources to help states, communities and schools support students’ mental health as it relates to gun violence. More information on BSCA can be found in this fact sheet.

Supreme Court Ruling in Nursing Home Case Could Expose Counties to Costly Lawsuits

On June 8, 2023, in a 7-2 opinion authored by Justice Jackson, the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Health and Hospital Corp. of Marion County, Indiana v. Talevski. The decision affirms the Seventh Circuit’s holding that residents in Medicaid-funded nursing homes have the right to seek relief in federal court when state or local officials do not meet a certain quality of care. In its decision, the Court affirms that private parties can sue for alleged rights violations under the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act (FNHRA) under Section 1983 of the U.S. Code, even though the FNHRA is authorized under the federal Spending Clause. The decision could expose county governments, which operate 758 skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes across the country, to costly litigation. The ruling may also increase liability for counties tasked with administering other federal assistance programs authorized under the Spending Clause.

Additional information is available via this link.

Become an ISACo Member!

Is your county a member of ISACo? If not, why not?

ISACo is a statewide association whose mission is to empower county officials to provide excellent service to their residents.

ISACo member counties are comprised of forward-thinking public servants who recognize that the challenges confronting county governments require new and innovative ideas, collaborative solutions and collective advocacy at the state and federal levels of government.

Members of the association will benefit from education and training opportunities, peer-to-peer networking, shared resources and robust representation before policymakers at various levels of government. ISACo creates and connects county officials to these opportunities and successfully equips them to make counties ideal places to live, work and play.

If your county is interested in discussing membership in ISACo, please contact Executive Director Joe McCoy at (217) 679-3368 or ISACo member counties are listed here. Thank you for your consideration.