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Policy Update: Federal Grants Bill, Supreme Court Decisions, and City Council’s Last Day

Policy Update: Federal Grants Bill, Supreme Court Decisions, and City Council’s Last Day

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 government and policy that may be of interest to the nonprofit community.

New Bill Aims to Improve the Federal Grants Process
The Streamlining Federal Grants Act of 2023 (S. 2286) was introduced a couple of weeks ago by Senator Gary Peters (D-MI). The legislation would require the Office of Management and Budget to offer advice to federal agencies on how to streamline their grant application processes, including making notices of funding opportunities simpler and clearer, updating software systems for applications and grant management, and using common data standards for reporting. The goal is to reduce the administrative burden on organizations applying for grants, and to see more and diverse nonprofits equally access federal funding for the communities that are most in need. The bill could be marked up as early as this week by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
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House and Senate Still at Odds on Federal Funding for Next Fiscal Year
While the Democrat-led Senate is working on appropriations bills that exceed the spending reduction expectations, the Republican-led House is attempting to cut over $100 billion more. The House has added many controversial provisions to these must-pass appropriations bills – known as poison pills. For example, the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill includes provisions that would block President Biden’s executive orders on racial equity and diversity trainings in the workplace. This bill as currently written would eliminate the Senior Community Service Employment Program, which is operated by and benefits many nonprofit organizations. Both Chambers desire to move appropriations bills over the next two weeks before the Chamber takes its August recess. The disagreements, combined with the incentive passed in the Fiscal Responsibility Act to pass a budget before the end of the calendar year, may put earmarks (funds directly to local governments and nonprofit organizations) at risk. There are less than three weeks of working days between not and the end of the fiscal year, so a government shutdown is a growing possibility.
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Supreme Court Issues Several Landmark and Controversial Decisions
The Supreme Court closed out its term with several precedent-shattering 6-3 decisions.

  • Affirmative action – Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. Harvard College – the court struck down the use of race as an admissions factor.
  • Discrimination for sexual orientation – 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis – the court struck down a Colorado law that prohibited public-serving businesses from discriminating based on sexual orientation.
  • Presidential powers – Biden v. Nebraska – the court struck down President Biden’s student debt cancellation plan, which would have impacted 40 million borrowers. *NOTE – this decision does not impact the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
Also last month, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Voting Rights Act was violated by Alabama’s redistricting results, requiring the state to try again and include a second predominantly Black congressional district.
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Childcare May be Further Limited by Loss of Pandemic Aid
Childcare, which is already difficult to access and expensive, may be further impacted on September 30th when federal pandemic-related funding for childcare providers ends. One study by the Century Foundation estimates up to 70,000 programs could close as a result, impacting 3.2 million slots for children. Missouri and Kansas have both attempted to pass other childcare supports this year, and several bills in Congress try to address this challenge (though partisanship and cost make passage difficult).
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Consider Participating in National Voter Registration Day – September 19
National Voter Registration Day is celebrating its 11th anniversary this year; the holiday encourages volunteers and organizations to encourage people to newly register or update their voter registration. 2020 Census data shows that 1 in 4 eligible Americans are not registered to vote. You and your organization can get involved in recruiting and mobilizing volunteers, registering voters, and educating voters by registering here.
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Kansas City, MO Election Recap
The current Kansas City Council met for the last time last week. Before closing out its term, the Council approved a municipal ID program to make it easier for people to access certain benefits without a state-issued ID, appropriated millions of dollars for the 2026 World Cup, and gave the incoming Mayor and Councilmembers a 15% pay raise.
The following folks will be sworn in in August for four-year terms.
  • Mayor                                                   Quinton Lucas (returning)
  • Councilmember 1st District At-Large       Kevin O’Neill (returning)
  • Councilmember 1st District                     Nathan Willett (new)
  • Councilmember 2nd District At-Large       Lindsay French (new)
  • Councilmember 2nd District                    Wes Rogers (new)
  • Councilmember 3rd District At-Large       Melissa Patterson Hazley (new)
  • Councilmember 3rd District                     Melissa Robinson (returning)
  • Councilmember 4th District At-Large       Crispin Rea (new)
  • Councilmember 4th District                     Eric Bunch (returning)
  • Councilmember 5th District At-Large       Darrell Curls (new)
  • Councilmember 5th District                     Ryana Parks-Shaw (returning)
  • Councilmember 6th District at-Large        Andrea Bough (returning)
  • Councilmember 6th District                     Jonathan Duncan (new)
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Read more: From the National Council of Nonprofits: Nonprofit Champion July 10, 2023
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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