eRegions Newsletter

NEWS FROM WASHINGTON
Congress is in session. 

Congress Pursuing Continuing Resolution to Keep the Government Open After November 21
This week, the House and Senate are expected to adopt a continuing resolution (CR) or short-term funding bill that would keep the government open through December 20. The current CR lapses after November 21 and would result in a government shutdown if Congress does not pass, and the president does not sign, the forthcoming CR.
 
The CR is necessary as the House and Senate struggle to come up with a final fiscal year (FY) 2020 funding bill. Substantial disagreements exist between the House and Senate and time is running extremely short to reconcile the House and Senate appropriations bills by Friday at midnight.
 
The House is expected to bring up the CR for a vote sometime this week, but the exact date for the vote remains unclear. According to Bloomberg Government, neither Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell nor the White House have stated their stance on the CR just yet, but Senate Republicans have said that the absence of an agreement on the border wall funding remains a point of frustration.  
 
Proposed House Bill Would Codify CDBG-DR
modified version of H.R. 3702, the Reforming Disaster Recovery Act of 2019, would codify supplemental assistance for disaster relief provided under the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Department’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. The CDBG-Disaster Relief (CDBG-DR) program does not currently have its own authorization, so HUD applies rules for CDBG grants and any additional stipulations made by the supplemental appropriations law that provides the funds. According to Bloomberg Government, Congress has provided more than $80 billion in CDBG-DR assistance since fiscal year 1993. Along with codifying CDBG-DR, it would add requirements for grant recipients to spend a portion of their funds on mitigation planning, include modified requirements for reconstruction in hazard-prone areas, and extend the availability of funds for insular areas. The bill approved by a vote of 58-0 by the House Financial Services Committee back in July, and the House is expected to vote on the bill on the floor this evening.
 
Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez Unveil Green New Deal for Public Housing
Last Thursday, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) introduced a new version of Green New Deal legislation, The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act, that would dedicate billions of dollars to energy retrofits for America’s dilapidated public housing stock. The bill would commit up to $180 billion over 10 years to upgrading 1.2 million federally administered homes, which is double the $90 billion estimate from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for necessary repairs in public housing nationwide through 2030. The bill is an effort to kill two birds with one stone as the country’s public housing portfolio is in a dire situation and buildings are responsible for about 39 percent of global carbon emissions (about one-third of emissions in the U.S.). According to estimates from the progressive think tank Data for Progress, energy retrofits could reduce the costs of public-housing water bills by $97 million per year (about 30 percent) and bring down energy costs by $613 million (70 percent).
 
EPA Administrator Wheeler Releases National Recycling Framework
At the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) second annual recycling summit this past Friday, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced a national framework for advancing the recycling system. The framework’s recommendations include exploring tax incentives to encourage recycling investment, establishing metrics to measure recycling, and developing a compilation of publicly available recycling data. Participants in the summit were primarily signatories of the America Recycles pledge, including NARC. The pledge aims to encourage participants to work together to identify “specific actions that we can take collectively and within our respective organizations to improve the nation’s recycling system.”
 
Census Bureau Struggles to Add Staff For 2020’s Census
The federal government hopes to hire around half a million workers by next spring to complete the 2020 census. However, low unemployment and background-check delays are making this task challenging. To combat this, the Census Bureau is using new methods such as ads to target potential employees, encouraging them to become one of the nearly 500,000 enumerators needed. With fewer people looking for jobs, census outreach workers have also shifted focus to people who are already employed and are looking for additional, part-time work. In some parts of the country, the pay for census jobs hasn’t been high enough to attract applicants, according to the Government Accountability Office. Additionally, some applicants who already applied this year for early rounds of census jobs have been running into processing delays for background checks. As a result, the Census Bureau is more than three months behind in getting some 1,500 outreach workers, known as partnership specialists, fully on board.
OTHER NEWS
Climate Said to Imperil 60% of Superfund Sites
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report today recommending that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) clarify how its efforts to address the risks that climate change-related extreme weather events pose to Superfund sites align with its current goals and objectives. GAO investigators looked at 1,571 Superfund sites that, according to the EPA, exist nationally due to hazardous waste being dumped, left out in the open, or otherwise improperly managed. The GAO says at least 945 of them are in areas that scientists have identified as at greater risk of floods, storm surge from major hurricanes, wildfires, or sea-level rise of three feet and makes several recommendations for improving the management of risks for these sites.
 
Building a Data-Driven Future: Digital Cities 2019 Revealed
The winners of the 2019 Digital Cities Survey from the Center for Digital Government were officially announced this week. Those in the top spots were selected because they are making smart investments in technologies to prepare for the next decade, from infrastructure and citizen engagement to data storage and cybersecurity. The first-place winners are Weston, FL (up to 75,000 population category); Lynchburg, VA (75,000-124,999 population category); Norfolk, VA (125,000-249,999 population category); Miami, FL (250,000-499,999 population category); and San Diego, CA (500,000 or more population category).
REGIONAL SPOTLIGHT
Broward MPO Holds Successful E-Townhall
Last week, the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) held an E-Townhall as a part of their outreach plan to Broward residents. that reached over 14,000 residents in the region. The E-Townhall gave residents the opportunity to join a discussion on the intersection of land use, affordable housing, and transportation in the region. The organization reported that over 14,000 residents were reached through the Facebook Live event.
 
Entrepreneurship Program Backed by Regional GO Virginia Council
A nonprofit group will serve as the lead partner in a regional plan to enhance the technology ecosystem in the Roanoke, New River, and Lynchburg areas. The Valleys Innovation Council will receive a $299,995 grant under a proposal approved Thursday by the Region 2 Council. Another $150,004 in matching funds will come from Virginia Tech, Carilion Clinic, the City of Roanoke, Roanoke and Botetourt Counties, Delta Dental of Virginia, and Tech’s Corporate Research Center. GO Virginia was created by the General Assembly in 2017 to spur private sector growth and high-wage jobs, giving nine regional councils the ability to disburse more than $33 million in state funds for workforce development strategies in their areas. The funding recommended by the initiative’s Region 2 Council under a special mechanism for regional entrepreneurship coordination.
FROM THE REGIONS LEAD BLOG
Nov 08, 2019 03:21 pm | Jessica Routzahn

The National League of Cities (NLC) in partnership with the Public Technology Institute (PTI) has recently released a new guide: Protecting Our Cities: What Cities Should Know About Cybersecurity during cybersecurity month in October. This…

The post What Regions Can Do to Protect Themselves from Cyber-Attacks appeared first on Regions Lead.

FEATURED JOBS
View full list of jobs!

Regional Planning & GIS Intern
Posted 11/15/2019
Metropolitan Area Planning Council, Boston, MA

Modeler
Posted 11/15/2019
Wasatch Front Regional Council, Salt Lake City, UT

Senior Transportation Planner
Posted 11/13/2019
Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization, Honolulu, HI

Executive Director
Posted 11/12/2019
Golden Crescent Regional Planning Commission, Victoria, TX

Public Health Director
Posted 11/12/2019
Cleveland County, Shelby, NC

GRANTS
View full list of grants!

Agriculture Innovation Center Grant Program
Applications Due: March 20, 2020
The primary objective of the program is to provide grants to Agriculture Innovation Centers that will provide technical assistance to agricultural producers to market value-added agricultural products.
EVENTS
View full list of events!

NLC Web Forum: City Perspectives and Lessons Learned – Mayors’ Institute on Opioids
Recording available by registering at link above
Watch this National League of Cites’ Health and Wellness team webinar to learn about the work of their Mayors’ Institute on Opioids cities as they share lessons from their efforts over the past year. Opioid addiction and city-level responses continue to be a challenge for many cities. You will learn about approaches by city leaders, public health officials and other partners through the Mayors’ Institute effort, which met initially in May 2018, and includes Huntington, WV; New Bedford, MA; Manchester, NH; Knoxville, TN: Madison, WI; and Tacoma, WA.
 
Building Digital Workforce Skills at the Local Level
November 20, 2:00-3:00 PM ET
A digitally skilled workforce is essential for the economic development of our nation’s communities. Companies of all sizes need employees that understand technology, whether it’s on the business or operational side of the organization. Join BroadbandUSA to hear how local leaders are building partnerships between governments, businesses, nonprofits and education to help residents attain the skills needed to thrive in a digital economy.
 
Utility Action for Climate Resilience in Cities
December 3, 2:00-3:00 PM ET
Join the US Water Alliance for this One Water Webinar to explore the innovative ways the water sector is building climate resilience-now and for future generations. Utility leaders will spotlight climate solutions that are being woven into fabrics of their cities. These solutions use the best available science to inform robust emergency management plans, as well as infrastructure retrofits and significant capital projects.
 
Staying Ahead of The Curve: Managing States’ Connected Infrastructure
December 3, 2:00-3:00 PM ET
With the advent of artificial intelligence, cloud software, and predictive technology comes an opportunity for governments to transform the management and maintenance of state and local infrastructure. As the nation’s transportation networks become more digitally connected, how can governments harness these new technologies to not only better track, inspect, and upgrade assets, but also enhance the employee experience and improve efficiency? During this event Route Fifty will sit down with state transportation leaders to explore:
  • The intersection of Internet of Things and transportation infrastructure
  • Use cases for emerging technology at state Departments of Transportation
  • The increasing role of business intelligence tech to manage connected infrastructure

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