State and Federal Relations

House GOP Tightens Rules for Earmarks

The move will likely limit future funding for state and local government projects in the areas of education, human services and workforce development, as well as for government operations.

White House’s Environmental Justice Tool Still Comes Up Short, Advocates Say

Groups worry that the criteria that determines which communities qualify is too broad and may lead to federal grant money bypassing the people who need it most.

Biden Administration Recognizes States’ Role in Highway Spending

A new memo from the Federal Highway Administration that replaces one from last year explicitly acknowledges the role of states in deciding how to use federal highway dollars—allaying concerns raised by Republicans in Congress.

Treasury Reopens ‘Help Desk’ for States and Localities

The call center, which fielded 300 calls and about 2,000 emails a week before it was shut down, provided governments with assistance on the handling of various pandemic-related programs.

The End Is Near for Outdated Government Financial Reporting

COMMENTARY | Changes to federal law will require state and local governments to do what they should have done years ago for the benefit of investors and other stakeholders.

Congress and Watchdogs Scrutinize Covid Aid Lost to Fraud

Federal officials are still going after fraudsters who siphoned billions from emergency Covid-era programs, while also trying to prevent similar malfeasance in the future. State-managed unemployment programs are one area getting heavy attention.

Nine ‘Mega’ Projects Score Grants Totaling Over $1 Billion

Nearly $300 million of the federal funding will go to a high-profile rail tunnel project linking New York City and New Jersey.

How the Debt Ceiling Debate Puts State and Local Dollars at Risk

With a battle over federal spending brewing between Republicans and Democrats in Washington, counties and low-income housing advocates are warning of potentially damaging cuts.

Biden Administration Plans for Stronger Fair Housing Enforcement

A pending Department of Housing and Urban Development rule would set new requirements for state and local agencies and mark the reversal of a Trump-era policy.

State Governments’ Railroad Expertise Gap

With billions in new money for projects in play, a top federal railroad official is urging states to get on track ramping up rail-focused staff.

House GOP Would Make It Easier for Feds to Give Public Lands Away to States

The rule would apply to any land owned by the federal government, almost all of which is in 11 Western states and Alaska.

State AGs Urge US Supreme Court to Address Blocked Railroad Crossings

The problem of trains blocking roadways is getting worse and, according to 18 states, it can have life-threatening consequences.

With Federal Boost, Massive Bridge Project Finally Set to Move Forward

Plans to upgrade the interstate crossing between Ohio and Kentucky have been in the works for nearly two decades. Grants from last year’s infrastructure law will help to provide the funding needed to make construction possible.

Federal Memo on State Highway Spending Faces Sharper Criticism

The agency that issued the document outlining Biden administration road priorities maintains it is non-binding. But a federal watchdog says the memo should undergo congressional review and GOP lawmakers are pushing to rescind it.

What the $1.7 Trillion Spending Bill Includes for States and Localities

Congressional lawmakers fought back attempts by conservatives to delay the legislation until next year, approving billions for infrastructure, new regional technology hubs, homelessness programs and other state and local government priorities.

Marijuana Banking Reform Left Out of Year-End Spending Deal 

The proposed changes would have cleared a path for state-regulated marijuana companies to access banking services, instead of doing business primarily in cash.

Fears Grow Over Plan to Distribute Billions in Broadband Dollars

State and local officials are raising alarm about what they say are major flaws with a federal map that will guide where the infrastructure money is sent. They want the Biden administration to extend a timeline for flagging the problems.

Permitting Revamp and Pot Banking Left Out of Must-pass Defense Bill

In brokering the National Defense Authorization Act, congressional negotiators didn’t include a controversial overhaul of environmental permitting for energy projects, or provisions to open banking to state-regulated marijuana businesses.

Passenger Rail Set to Expand with $2.3B Up for Grabs

The Federal Railroad Administration is accepting applications for projects that expand service and improve safety and reliability.

The Fight to Expand the Low-income Housing Tax Credit

With the nation’s home shortage grinding on, advocates and some lawmakers want to restore, and possibly go beyond, a previous increase in the federal credits, which are key in helping finance the construction of affordable housing. But will Congress act?