Legislation Connection: Monday, March 27th

Capitol Graphic
Don’t let the fast pace of the daily political drama keep you out of the loop! Check out our Legislation Connection, where we connect you to information about bills the House and Senate passed, and laws the President signed.

House of Representatives

Bills Passed

  • H.R. 1117 – To require the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to submit a report regarding certain plans regarding assistance to applicants and grantees during the response to an emergency or disaster
    • Sponsor: Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo-4)

This bill directs the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to report to Congress regarding its plans to provide: (1) consistent guidance to applicants on FEMA disaster funding procedures during the response to an emergency or disaster, (2) appropriate record maintenance and transfer of documents to new teams during staff transitions, and (3) accurate assistance to applicants and grantees to ease the administrative burden throughout the process of obtaining and monitoring assistance.

The report must: (1) include a plan for implementing operating procedures and document retention requirements to ensure the maintenance of appropriate records throughout the life cycle of the emergency or disaster; and (2) identify new technologies to aid the disaster workforce in partnering with state, local, and tribal governments and private nonprofits in the wake of a disaster or emergency to educate, assist, and inform applicants on the status of their applications and projects.

  • H.R. 654 – Pacific Northwest Earthquake Preparedness Act of 2017
    • Sponsor: Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR-4)

This bill requires the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to: (1) develop a plan for the purchase and installation of an earthquake early warning system for the Cascadia Subduction Zone; and (2) identify the funds necessary, and make grants to states, Indian tribes, and local governments, for its implementation.

The President shall establish an Earthquake and Tsunami Task Force for the purpose of developing a comprehensive strategy and recommendations on how the nation should prepare and plan for, mitigate against, respond to, recover from, and more successfully adapt to an earthquake, tsunami, or combined earthquake and tsunami event in such zone. Such recommendations shall include recommendations on: (1) administrative or legislative changes and funding required to implement the strategy, and (2) the order of priority for implementation of the strategy.

The Task Force shall enter into an agreement with the National Academies for developing recommendations for a federal research strategy to advance scientific understanding of a zone earthquake and resulting tsunami preparedness.

FEMA shall be responsible for the nation’s efforts to reduce the loss of life and property, and to protect the nation, from an earthquake, tsunami, or combined earthquake and tsunami event by developing the ability to prepare and plan for, mitigate against, respond to, recover from, and more successfully adapt to such an event.

The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act is amended to authorize recipients to use hazard mitigation assistance to conduct activities to help reduce the risk of future damage, hardship, loss, or suffering in any area affected by earthquake hazards, including making improvements to:

regional seismic networks in support of building a capability for earthquake early warning;

geodetic networks in support of building a capability for earthquake early warning; and

seismometers, Global Positioning System receivers, and associated infrastructure in support of building a capability for earthquake early warning.

Other Bills That May Be Considered This Week

  • H.R. 1214 – Disaster SAVE Act
  • H.R. 1304 – Self-Insurance Protection Act
  • H.R. 1215 – Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017
  • H.R. 1430 – HONEST Act
  • H.R. 1431 – EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2017
  • S.J.Res. 34 – Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services”.

Senate

Bills Passed

None.


President’s Desk

Bills Signed into Law

  • H.J.Res.37 – Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Defense, the General Services Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration relating to the Federal Acquisition Regulation.

This joint resolution nullifies the rule finalized by the Department of Defense, the General Services Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on August 25, 2016, relating to revising the Federal Acquisition Regulation to implement Executive Order 13673 concerning contractor compliance with labor laws.

According to the Federal Register, “the Executive Order was designed to promote contracting efficiency by improving contractor compliance with basic labor standards during the performance of Federal contracts.” Read the full details in the applicable Federal Register.

  • H.J.Res.44 – Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of the Interior relating to Bureau of Land Management regulations that establish the procedures used to prepare, revise, or amend land use plans pursuant to the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976.

This joint resolution nullifies the rule finalized by the Department of the Interior on December 12, 2016, relating to revising regulations that establish the procedures used to prepare, revise, or amend land use plans pursuant to the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976.

According to the Federal Register, this final rule affirmed “the important role of other Federal agencies, State and local governments, Indian tribes, and the public during the planning process and enhances opportunities for public involvement and transparency during the preparation of resource management plans. The final rule will enable the BLM to more readily address resource issues at a variety of scales, such as wildfire, wildlife habitat, appropriate development, or the demand for renewable and non-renewable energy sources, and to respond more effectively to change. The final rule emphasizes the role of using high quality information, including the best available scientific information, in the planning process; and the importance of evaluating the resource, environmental, ecological, social, and economic conditions at the onset of planning. Finally, the final rule makes revisions to clarify existing text and to improve the readability of the planning regulations.” Read the applicable Federal Register for full details.

  • H.J.Res.57 – Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Department of Education relating to accountability and State plans under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

This joint resolution nullifies the rule finalized by the Department of Education on November 29, 2016, relating to accountability and state plans under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

Read the Federal Register for full details, as it’s too long to summarize here.

  • H.J.Res.58 – Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Department of Education relating to teacher preparation issues.

This joint resolution nullifies the “Teacher Preparation Issues” rule finalized by the Department of Education on October 31, 2016. The rule implements requirements related to assessing the quality of teacher preparation programs under title II (Teacher Quality Enhancement) of the Higher Education Act of 1965.

According to the Federal Register, these now overturned rules:

Established necessary definitions and requirements for IHEs and States related to the quality of teacher preparation programs, and require States to develop measures for assessing teacher preparation performance.

Established indicators that States must use to report on teacher preparation program performance, to help ensure that the quality of teacher preparation programs is judged on reliable and valid indicators of program performance.

Established the areas States must consider in identifying teacher preparation programs that are low-performing and at-risk of being low-performing, the actions States must take with respect to those programs, and the consequences for a low-performing program that loses State approval or financial support. The final regulations also establish the conditions under which a program that loses State approval or financial support may regain its eligibility for title IV, HEA funding.

Established a link between the State’s classification of a teacher preparation program’s performance under the title II reporting system and that program’s identification as “high-quality” for TEACH Grant eligibility purposes.

Established provisions that allow TEACH Grant recipients to satisfy the requirements of their agreement to serve by teaching in a high-need field that was designated as high-need at the time the grant was received.

Established conditions that allow TEACH Grant recipients to have their service obligations discharged if they are totally and permanently disabled. The final regulations also establish conditions under which a student who had a prior service obligation discharged due to total and permanent disability may receive a new TEACH Grant.
Read the full details in the Federal Register.

Krista Johnson

Krista's a freelance proofreader and writer with a focus on medical editing and teen story-based games. She also makes a few bucks with photography. When she's not working with words, she's spoiling her English bulldog and trying new things in the kitchen.

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