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Policy Update: Earmarks, Executive Order on Racial Equity, Student Loan Relief, and More

Policy Update: Earmarks, Executive Order on Racial Equity, Student Loan Relief, and More

Nonprofit Connect works to keep Members updated on policy changes that affect nonprofits through Policy Updates. These messages provide brief information on what is going on in federal government and policy that may be of interest to the nonprofit community.

The National Council of Nonprofits will join Nonprofit Connect on March 23 to discuss 'How To Access ARPA Funds' (American Rescue Plan Act). Learn more and register here.

FY 24 Earmark Guidance Released in Senate; House Expected to Follow Soon

Earmarks have been redubbed Community Project Funding in the House of Representatives and Congressionally Directed Spending in the Senate. However, they remain a tool for Congress to directly allocate dollars to specific projects in their districts without any competition for those funds. Members of Congress will be accepting requests from their constituents again this year for funding to be spent in FY 2024 (though each member has the discretion to participate or not). Local or state governments and eligible nonprofit organizations may apply. The Senate has released its guidance and regulations for the process, and the House should follow suit shortly. Check your member’s website often – or contact them directly – to see if, when, and how you may submit a request for funding.
Senate Earmark General Guidance
Senate Earmark Reforms and Regulations

Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity Looks to Support Underserved Communities

President Biden signed Executive Order Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government in February, intended to increase the federal government’s ability to address barriers in underserved communities. Agencies must consult impacted communities while assessing and creating Equity Action Plans, funding opportunities, budget proposals and regulations. This effort continues the work started with the first Advancing Racial Equity Executive Order from 2021, and may provide opportunities for your organizations to provide feedback.  
Existing Agency Equity Plans
Details of the New Executive Order

Supreme Court Evaluates Biden’s Plan to Cancel Student Debt

Just yesterday the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for challenges to the student debt relief plan proposed by President Biden. Student loan payments were paused during the pandemic, and last year the President offered a plan to provide up to $20,000 in debt relief for borrowers based on their income. Six states – including Missouri – have sued, though one issue that arose is whether states and individuals have standing. It seemed some justices were skeptical of the federal government's authority to discharge the debt; a decision will be issued this summer.
Read More
  • ALSO – join the US Department of Education and The Institute of Student Loan Advisors for a free webinar on Public Service Loan Forgiveness and income driven payments. March 7 at 12pm CT – Register Here

Missouri Legislative Update

The Missouri legislature approved a supplemental spending bill which included an 8.7% pay increase for government employees, an increase in the mileage reimbursement rate, and money for some capital improvement projects and efforts to attract international flights. The House Children and Families Committee considered several tax credits designed to increase the accessibility of child care. The House and Senate each passed bills that would modify the Kansas City police department (including removing the salary cap placed on the police chief and all other officers); each bill now proceeds to the other Chamber for consideration.
Follow the Missouri General Assembly

Kansas Legislative Update

The Kansas House and Senate completed Turnaround last week, meaning only bills that have already passed their chamber of origin, are exempt, or received a blessing from leadership can be considered for the rest of the session. However, bills that are introduced to or touch an exempt committee (Federal and State Affairs or Taxation) remain actionable. The Senate has passed many tax-related bills, including one that would fully eliminate the food sales tax by 2024. Both the House and Senate passed legislation that would change election laws – such as eliminating the grace period for mail-in ballots to be received.
Follow the Kansas Legislature
From the National Council of Nonprofits: Read more on the end of the national health emergency, regulatory guidance on remote work, new research on volunteerism, and more

Stay tuned for more updates as the spring progresses.

This post was written by Kristen Wood, Nonprofit Connect's Advocacy Contributor.
Kristen is an avid participant in Kansas City’s nonprofit community and a self-proclaimed ‘lifetime learner’. In addition to working for Goodwill of Western Missouri & Eastern Kansas, she enjoys following nonprofit policy issues.

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