May 2012
Authorizing Legislation v. Appropriations Bills — What Does It All Mean?

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In this edition of the Advocacy Insider, we talk about a transportation reauthorization bill as well as the FY 13 transportation appropriations bill. Recognizing that the difference can be a little confusing, we wanted to provide an explanation of the difference between these two types of bills and explain how the two bills work together.

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Federal Transportation Policy – Surface Transportation Act Reauthorization Update
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A select group of Senators and Representatives are meeting now in an effort to create a final surface transportation bill, and there’s hope that funds designated for local biking and walking programs through Transportation Enhancements and the Recreational Trails Program will be included in the final measure. Additionally, the bill being debated in conference contains a provision that would provide $700 million per year in dedicated funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) over the next two years.

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Senate Support for a Fifth Round of TIGER Grants
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by The Ferguson Group

On April 17, the Senate Appropriations Transportation/HUD Appropriations Subcommittee approved its version of the FY2013 Transportation/HUD Appropriations bill containing $500 million for another round of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant Program (of which there have been 3 previous rounds with a 4th round of awards currently due to be announced next month). TIGER grants are awarded to states, cities, local governments, tribal governments, and other partnerships and groups, including private sector partners, for critical investments in the nation's transportation infrastructure that will have a significant impact on the nation, a metropolitan area or a region.

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LWCF FY2013 Appropriations Update
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NRPA is continuing our advocacy efforts in support for robust funding for the LWCF State Assistance program, including equitable (40%) funding for the State Assistance program. Once again, for fiscal year 13, the Department of Interior (DOI) has proposed to use State Assistance funding to fund a competitive grant program. Under DOI’s proposal LWCF State Assistance would be funded at a “total” of $60 million in FY 13. However, $20 million of that would be dedicated to the “competitive grant” program, leaving the State Assistance program, as we know it, at a level which is considerably less than the amount appropriated in FY12.

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Senate Committee Supports Sustainable Communities Initiative
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by The Ferguson Group

On April 19, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to approve $50 million in FY 2013 funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Sustainable Communities Initiative. This initiative, the cornerstone of the federal interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities, includes both the Community Challenge grants that support local planning efforts, and the Regional Integrated Planning grants that support the development of regional plans.

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National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention
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In early April, NRPA attended the second annual summit of the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention in Washington, D.C. The event was hosted by Attorney General Eric Holder who was joined by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, and a host of other prominent administration officials and Members of Congress. Launched in 2010 at the direction of President Obama, the forum is a network of communities and federal agencies working together to share information and build local capacity to prevent and reduce youth violence.

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Legislation Places Restrictions on Federal Government Employees Attending Meetings and Conferences
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In late April the House and Senate passed the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) (H.R. 2146 and S. 1789). While the purpose of this bill was to provide greater transparency and accountability in government spending, the bills passed by the two chambers could have a detrimental effect on park and recreation associations throughout the country since they impose new spending limits and reporting requirements for all government employees attending meetings and conferences.

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