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INTERNSHIP ANNOUNCEMENT

DMGS is currently hiring interns for the Summer and Fall in our Philadelphia, Trenton, and Pittsburgh offices. More information can be found here:

Pittsburgh (Summer)

Philly/Trenton (Summer)

Philly/Trenton (Fall)

 

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY UPDATE

 

Below is the current delegate count in the Republican nomination for the Presidency (including unpledged/super delegates) of the candidates who have not suspended their campaigns / dropped out of the race. 1,237 delegates are required to win the Republican nomination and 848 delegates are still up for grabs. Many of the upcoming races are winner-take-most or winner-take-all.

 

Donald Trump: 736

Ted Cruz 463

John Kasich 143

 

Below is the current delegate count in the Democratic nomination for the Presidency (including unpledged/super delegates) of the candidates who have not suspended their campaigns / dropped out of the race. 2,383 delegates are required to win the Democratic nomination and 2,073 delegates are still up for grabs. Unlike the Republicans, all Democratic races allocate delegates proportionally.

 

Hillary Clinton 1,712

Bernie Sanders 1,011

 

Upcoming State Primaries

 

Tuesday April 5: Wisconsin

 

Friday April 8: Colorado Republican Convention

 

Saturday April 9: Wyoming Democratic Caucus

 

Tuesday April 19: New York

 

Tuesday April 26: Connecticut, Delaware,  Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island

 

Note: This issue of Capitol Commentary discusses presidential candidates and campaigns but is provided only for informational and educational purposes. It is not intended to endorse or recommend any particular candidate or political party.

 

 

WASHINGTON DC UPDATE

 

Discretionary Spending and the Appropriations Process

Focus will be placed on the appropriations process when Congress returns from recess. House Republican Leadership is working to get rank-and-file members to support its budget resolution. The Appropriations Committee is trying to get appropriations bills to the full House by mid-May. However, failure to get a budget resolution passed first will make this process bumpy. The House Freedom Caucus has demanded that discretionary spending be $30 billion lower than the levels established by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. They are demanding that this lower number be reflected in any budget resolution before they support it. The Senate will begin marking up appropriations bills on April 15 and will abide by the limits established in the Bipartisan Budget Act. The Military Construction - Veterans Affairs appropriations bill was marked up in subcommittee on March 23. It is expected to be passed by the full Appropriations Committee the first week the House is back from recess.

FAA Reauthorization

The Senate is expected to focus on a long-term FAA re-authorization bill (S. 2658) . That chamber's proposal as it currently stands would reauthorize the FAA for 18 months but would not privatize air traffic control functions like the House’s plan. It has already cleared the Senate’s Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and leadership plans to bring it to the floor for a vote in April. Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, who has led FAA reform efforts in the House (through H.R. 4441), plans to continue to push his attempt to privatize air traffic control functions. His FAA reauthorization/reform legislation was shelved by House Republican leadership due to a number of concerns on both sides of the aisle. The President signed into law a temporary measure that extends FAA reauthorization through July 15 while Congress debates efforts to reauthorize the agency in the long term (without this stop-gap bill, the FAA’s authorization would have expired on March 31).

Self-Driving Cars

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has announced that the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will begin issuing guidelines for self-driving cars in a few months. Regulations will streamline rules for developers like Google, GM and Tesla, providing exemptions and permitting them to demonstrate safety features of their products.

21 Century Cures

The Senate HELP Committee will take up the remaining pieces of legislation linked to the House passed 21st Century Cures bill on Wednesday, April 6, listed below. This package of legislation has broad bipartisan support. HELP has already marked up 14 “cures” related bills:

•           FDA and NIH Workforce Authority Modernization Act (S. 2700)

•           Promise for Antibiotics and Therapeutics for Health (PATH) Act (S. 185)

•           Advancing Precision Medicine Act of 2016 (S. 2713)

•           NIH Strategic Plan and Inclusion in Clinical Research Act (S. ____ )

•           Promoting Biomedical Research and Public Health for Patients Act  (S. ____ )

 

STATEWIDE UPDATES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW JERSEY UPDATE

Christie Announces New Statewide Housing First Initiative to Assist NJ’s Vulnerable

Continuing the Administration’s strong record of reducing homelessness in New Jersey, Governor Christie announced on 3/30/16 that the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) will issue 500 State Rental Assistance Program (SRAP) vouchers through a new statewide Housing First program.  The vouchers will be available to chronically homeless individuals and/or families who are high utilizers of public systems.

DCA anticipates $5.4 million in annualized funding for the vouchers and $250,000 in discretionary Community Services Block Grant funds for coordinated services. Under the statewide Housing First program, 400 rental vouchers will be allocated to chronically homeless households and 100 rental vouchers to homeless veterans.

An RFP will be issued to identify local partnerships that will serve as incubators for best practices in housing and services for a variety of vulnerable populations. Tenant-based vouchers and service funding will be awarded to at least five organizations that have experience with assisting households in finding housing and providing ongoing supportive services, including but not limited to medical services, mental health, case management, substance abuse treatment and employment training.

Atlantic City Update

 

As of March 31st, it looks like Atlantic City might have dodged shut down, at least for a few more weeks. With the city dangerously close to running out of money, the four unions that represent municipal workers in the city are voting on a new proposal that would stave off a three-week local government shutdown beginning next Friday. If approved by the unions and the city council, the deal would also buy more time for state and local leaders to end a bitter standoff and agree on a plan for how to keep New Jersey's only gambling resort from a financial collapse.

 

Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian announced last week that without help from the state, he will have no choice but to shut down the local government and not pay municipal workers beginning April 8 and lasting until May 2, when new quarterly tax revenue comes in. Police officers, firefighters, and garbage collectors would still work for IOUs.

Under the new proposal, city workers would agree to work and get paid every 28 days, instead of the usual 14 days. Paychecks would begin again on May 6. Insiders indicate that even after May 6, it's unclear how long the city can remain open without $33.5 million the state promised Atlantic City under rescue legislation that Gov. Chris Christie vetoed in January.

 

Without a solution, local officials said Atlantic City could be forced to file for bankruptcy — which experts say could hurt the credit rating of municipalities across New Jersey.

 

 

PENNSYLVANIA

Record Last-Minute Voter Registrations

 

County election officials in Pennsylvania are working their way through a wave of last-minute voter registration requests. Since the state launched an online voter registration system in August, more than 200,000 residents have filed new voter applications. An estimated 56,000 people used the system on Monday alone, the final day to register to vote in the April 26 primary.

 

Data from the Pennsylvania Department of State show much of the online demand is for voters seeking to change their affiliation in advance of the closed primary. Approximately 245,000 registered voters have switched this year, with about half of those becoming Republicans, one-third becoming Democrats, and the rest joining a minor party or becoming unaffiliated. 

 

State Budget Negotiations

 

While the Governor did not take any action on the labeled “Republican 15/16 budget bill (HB 1801)” and allowed it to become law without his signature, he did use his pen to veto the fiscal code bill (HB 1327) which directs how certain funds are driven out in the budget.  Republican leadership claims that the result of the Governor’s veto of HB 1327 will cost Pennsylvania’s public schools upwards of $400M – from basic education funding to school construction costs – as well as $25.8M in cuts to various agriculture-related programs.  There has been some discussion in the capitol of a possible veto override of HB 1327, however, no concrete decisions have been made at this time.

 

Medical Marijuana (SB 3)  

 

After two days of debate, on March 16th the House passed SB 3 (Medical Marijuana Bill), by a vote of 149-43.  The bill is now in the Senate on concurrence for consideration.  Currently, there are discussions in the Senate over whether they will make any changes to the bill as was sent over by the House.  There is a discussion over the need to fix some technical language in the bill.  However, there will be a broader discussion over some substantive issues the prime sponsor of the bill has expressed concerns. 

 

Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program

 

Many questions still surround the release of last year’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program applications.  At this time, there is still no timeline for the release of these funds, however, discussions continue in the Governor’s Office as to the funding available for various projects.  While these discussions continue, we understand the following bills may move:

 

  • House Bill 928, further providing for appropriation for and limitation on redevelopment assistance capital projects and for administration of redevelopment assistance capital projects. the bill adds that beginning July 1, 2018, and each July 1 thereafter until the sum of the outstanding obligations for redevelopment assistance capital projects equals $2,950,000,000, the sum of the maximum amount of outstanding obligations for redevelopment assistance projects shall be decreased by $50,000,000. Grant agreements shall include a signed affidavit stating that the applicant will hold at least one public informational meeting for the project and an additional public informational meeting as necessary, as required by the bill. Effective immediately.  The bill was reported as committed with Democrats voting in the negative.

 

  • House Bill 930 Amends the Capital Facilities Debt Enabling Act reducing the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Projects (RACP) Debt ceiling by $475 million. Adds language providing that the maximum amount of additional public improvement projects released for funding by the Commonwealth in a fiscal year shall not exceed $350 million and the maximum amount of additional redevelopment assistance capital projects released for funding by the Commonwealth in a fiscal year shall not exceed $125 million. Also provides for carry-forward. Effective in 60 days. - The bill was reported as committed with Democrats voting in the negative.

 

 

OHIO

Ohio proposes paying $10 million to help East Cleveland-Cleveland merger

As East Cleveland and Cleveland officials mull merging the two cities, state lawmakers could sweeten the deal with $10 million to fix up the inner-ring suburb. The one-time appropriation would be available only if the two cities agree to merge and could only be used for infrastructure improvements such as roads, bridges and emergency equipment.

 

The idea is being pitched by Ohio Auditor Dave Yost for inclusion in the state capital budget bill or another off-year budget appropriation bill. Yost has warned East Cleveland's fiscal woes cannot be fixed without merging the city with another or filing for bankruptcy. The proposal has yet to be incorporated into legislation but has local officials and state lawmakers talking about next steps.

 

 

 

 

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Duane Morris Government Strategies, LLC will continue to monitor these and other
important issues. Contact us at
info@dmgs.com if you have an issue you would like
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