Milwaukee ARPA Commission Turns Down Request for Repairs to Landmark Mitchell Park Domes

There is, apparently, a limit to what Milwaukee County considers coronavirus-related relief.

Milwaukee County’s American Rescue Plan Act Task Force last week unanimously rejected a proposal to spend $19 million of ARPA dollars to rehabilitate the Mitchell Park Domes.

“This Task Force has spent millions of dollars on initiatives to ensure that houses in suburban Milwaukee aren’t falling into disrepair, potentially rushing foreclosures.

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Commentary: Enormous Amounts of Money Flow into the Bottomless Education Pit

Spurred by COVID panic, schools have been the recipient of ungodly sums of money. And it’s not as if the beast was starving before. To put things into perspective, the United States spends about $800 billion on national defense, more than China, Russia, India, the UK, France, Saudi Arabia, Germany, and Japan combined, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. America now spends even more on K-12 education, with an outlay of about $900 billion dollars a year, which includes an additional $122 billion from the COVID-related American Rescue Plan. 

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Ohio Republican Senator Introduces Gun Control Legislation

An Ohio Republican state senator introduced gun-control legislation that would require a co-signer for 18- to 21-year-olds to buy any gun other than a single-round rifle or shotgun.

State Sen. Matt Dolan, R-Chagrin Falls, who lost a U.S. Senate primary earlier this year to J.D. Vance, said Senate Bill 357 protects both Second Amendment rights and the public.

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Ohio Violent Crime Reduction Funds Raised to $100 Million

During a visit to the Whitehall Police Department this week, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) indicated he will expand funding for the Ohio Violent Crime Reduction Grant Program from $58 million to $100 million, citing a nationwide spike in violence.

According to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 2011 and 2020 Uniform Crime Reports, homicides in the Buckeye State rose sharply in the decade between those years. Five hundred murders occurred in Ohio in 2011 and 820 took place in 2020. Regional figures also show violence worsening, with one poll of Franklin County police chiefs showing that aggravated assault increased by 36 percent in that jurisdiction between 2020 and 2021.

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Regional Foundation Awarded $9.2M in COVID Relief Funds from ARPA Competition

The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber Foundation is one of 32 organization splitting $500 million in the Good Jobs Challenge.

The Ignite Initiative Regional Workforce Training System is receiving $9.6 million. It focuses on training underserved communities in the border region of North Dakota and Minnesota that include people of color, veterans, immigrants and formerly incarcerated individuals, according to a release from the foundation. The training is for positions in the agriculture, manufacturing and technology industries.

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U.S. Treasury Greenlights Connecticut’s ARPA Spending Initiative

A plan that would allocate federal funding to small businesses in Connecticut has been approved.

Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont, who is running unopposed on the state’s Aug. 9 primary, said the U.S. Treasury Department has greenlighted the state’s $119.5 million plan to assist small businesses in the state using American Rescue Plan Act funding. The funds will be placed into the State Small Business Credit Initiative.

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$500 Million Heading to Ohio’s Appalachian Region

Ohioans in the state’s Appalachian region can expect a half billion-dollar investment after Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill that dedicates federal funds to infrastructure, health care and work force development.

The $500 million, which is on top of more than $645 million sent to the region since 2019, is twice as much as this year’s entire Appalachian Regional Commission budget. The commission covers 13 states.

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Governor Kemp Announces New Round of Broadband Expansion

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp on Tuesday announced a new round of broadband expansion that will be focused in the central portion of the state.

The new project, which is being carried out through a partnership with Ocmulgee EMC and Conexon Connect, will provide high-speed fiber broadband service to roughly 8,000 individuals.

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Arizona Department of Education Sends $15.3 Million to Help Low-Income Students

The Arizona Department of Education announced it would award $15.3 million in funding for programs to improve the education quality it offers low-income and first-generation Americans.

“Parents deserve easy access to resources that help their children achieve their full potential,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said in a press release. “I know students and parents need more direct support when it comes to educational services outside of the classroom. These organizations are well prepared to support students and families and will help foster higher student achievement.”

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Lamont: Taxpayers Will Help Aspiring Teachers Earn Certifications

Connecticut is spending taxpayers dollars to help defray testing costs for teachers, Gov. Ned Lamont said.

The governor announced that $2 million in American Rescue Plan Act and Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funding will be used to help aspiring teachers defray the costs of certification-related testing in the state over the course of the next two years.

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Think Tank: Detroit’s ARPA Spending Unsustainable

Detroit skyline at night

Nine years after declaring bankruptcy, the city of Detroit received more than $826.7 million in one-time federal stimulus money but still projects a deficit in fiscal year 2027.

A Citizen’s Research Council of Michigan (CRCM) report says the city’s plan to spend one-time dollars on recurring programs is unsustainable.

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MyHomeCT to Assist Homeowners Financially Impacted by COVID-19

Mother putting mask on child

A federally funded program designed to assist Connecticut homeowners negatively impacted by COVID-19 is now available, Gov. Ned Lamont said.

The governor announced MyHomeCT, a new state program, is funded with $123 million in American Rescue Plan Act dollars that were received by the state’s Department of Housing. The program is being administered by the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority.

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Lamont Sends $8 Million to Fund Connecticut Summer Enrichment Program

Ned Lamont

An investment of federal funds will benefit schoolchildren throughout Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont said.

The governor announced $8 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds will be invested in the Summer Enrichment Program. The funding will be sent to the Department of Education, which will disperse the funds to programs designed to help students continue to be connected to high-quality education programs when school is not in session.

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Lawmakers Call for Challenge to ARPA Rules Limiting Connecticut Tax Reduction

Ned Lamont

Connecticut Republican legislators said on Saturday they want the state to challenge a part of the American Rescue Plan Act which limits states’ ability to cut taxes.

GOP senators and representatives are calling for tax reduction beyond the targeted relief backed by Gov. Ned Lamont (D). A major roadblock to greater decreases will be the COVID-relief bill President Joe Biden signed into law last year. The act included $195.3 billion in recovery funds for states and barred states accepting allocations from using them to “directly or indirectly offset a reduction in net tax revenue… or delay the imposition of any tax or tax increase.”

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Lamont Proposes Connecticut Gas Tax Suspension; Republicans Press for Vote

Gov. Ned Lamont (D) this week proposed a holiday from the state’s 25-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax to last through the month of June.

He said he does not believe the gas-tax break can be extended beyond July 1 insofar as Connecticut’s acceptance of federal funds under President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) restricts the state as to how much it can reduce taxes. The governor also voiced concern that a longer tax holiday would compromise the state’s ability to fund transportation. The gas tax’s suspension will cost the state over $90 million.

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Pennsylvania Senator Toomey Pushes for Accounting of COVID Spending

While President Joe Biden proposed $22.5 billion in coronavirus-related spending this week, Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey (R) urged clarification of how the government has spent almost $6 trillion in earlier COVID relief.

Toomey joined 35 Senate colleagues in writing to Biden asking for a detailed explication of the disbursements made over the last two years which, the authors noted, amounted to the largest allotment of taxpayer money for one concern in American history.

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Georgia Issues More Than $5 Million in Grants to Law Enforcement Agencies

Georgia has awarded more than $5.6 million in grants to law enforcement agencies, state officials announced Friday.

The grants will fund law enforcement training programs. It is part of Gov. Brian Kemp’s larger effort to bolster public safety and reduce crime.

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Pennsylvania Taps Federal Funding for Homeowner Mortgage Assistance

Pennsylvania has launched a new $350 million program designed to help homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Tom Wolf announced the statewide launch of the Pennsylvania Homeowner Assistance Fund (PAHAF) on Thursday after approval from the U.S. Department of Treasury. The fund utilizes $350 million from the American Rescue Plan Act distributed to Pennsylvania through the treasury’s Homeowner Assistance Fund to help homeowners avoid mortgage delinquencies, defaults and foreclosures, as well as for help paying utilities.

“As we continue to advance our COVID-19 recovery efforts, we must address the rising number of homeowners facing possible loss of their homes and foreclosure – this program will do just that,” Wolf said. “The Homeowner Assistance Fund will prioritize individuals and families with the greatest need, as well as those who are socially disadvantaged. I am grateful that the U.S. Treasury has approved Pennsylvania’s plan, and we can start the new year by distributing this critical funding to homeowners.”

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Iowa Leaders React to Biden Administration’s $1 Billion for Expanding Independent Meat and Poultry Processing Capacity

Inside of a butcher shop with meat hanging up

The Biden Administration announced Monday it will spend $1 billion in American Rescue Plan Act funds to increase independent meat and poultry processing capacity.

The administration will invest $375 million on independent processing plant projects that fill a need for diversified processing capacity, spend up to $275 million in working with lenders to increase availability of loans, particularly to underserved communities, for independent processors, and spend $100 million to back private lenders investing in independently owned food processing and distribution infrastructure to move product through supply chain.

It will spend and additional $100 million to support training, safe workplaces and jobs in meat and poultry processing facilities, $100 million in reducing overtime and holiday inspection costs for small and very small processing plants, and $50 million to provide independent business owners and producers with technical assistance and research and development.

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COVID Vaccination Incentives for City Employees Could Cost Phoenix Up to $29 Million

The city of Phoenix will offer bonuses up to $2,000 to vaccinated city employees, costing the city between $25 million to $29 million.

The Phoenix City Council voted, 6-3, this week to approve the bonuses, which will go out to full and part-time employees by Jan. 18. City employees who do not have the option to work remotely already were set to receive $500 bonuses from American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Councilmembers decided to grant an additional premium bonus to those same employees if vaccinated.

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In Budget Speech, Virginia Gov. Northam Acknowledges Priorities of Incoming Republican Administration, Warns of Need to Cut Taxes in the Right Way

Governor Ralph Northam presented his 2022-2024 budget proposal to the money committees of the Virginia General Assembly and the incoming administration on Thursday. Several elements of Northam’s proposal, including tax cuts, were inspired by Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin’s policy. Northam said he’s leaving Virginia in good financial conditions.

“And today I present to you my last budget. I’m biased, but I also think it’s our best one yet,” Northam said according to his prepared remarks. “That’s because Virginia’s economy is doing very well. State revenues are at record investments, while also putting money back into the pockets of the hardest working Virginians. We need to be clear about how this has happened. It is because over these four years, we have consistently taken a prudent, cautious approach to budgeting.”

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Northam Announces New Grants That Will Push Virginia to 90 Percent of Universal Broadband Access

Governor Ralph Northam, Senators Tim Kaine (D-Virginia), Mark Warner (D-Virginia) and Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-Virginia-07) stopped in central Virginia Monday to announce the allocation of $722 million in grants to localities for Virginia’s universal broadband push. Northam’s announcement states that money, alongside over $1 billion in matching funds from partners, will push Virginia to 90 percent of its goal of universal broadband.

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Wisconsin Superintendent, Lawmakers Bicker over $77 Million in Coronavirus Relief

Wisconsin’s state superintendent is snapping back at Republican lawmakers over $77 million in coronavirus money for schools.

Superintendent Jill Underly on Thursday wrote a defiant letter to the heads of the legislature’s budget writing panel.

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Stimulus Accountability Group Eyes Two New Tennessee Public Health Labs for Combined $285M

As Tennessee’s Financial Stimulus Accountability Group looks to approve its plan to approve $3.1 billion in federal stimulus spending, one lawmaker has questions about two proposed statewide laboratory projects.

The new labs, which would replace current labs in older facilities, would be located in Nashville and at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville Medical Center. The Nashville lab has a $200 million price tag, and the East Tennessee Regional Health Office and Replacement Lab carries an $85 million cost.

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Virginia Rep. Wittman Backs Prince William County’s Request for Money to Build a Mental Health Crisis Center

Representative Rob Wittman (R-Virginia-01) is supporting Prince William County’s efforts to build a crisis stabilization center, asking Virginia’s House Finance Committee Chair Luke Torian (D-Prince William) to use federal COVID-19 relief to help fund the project.

“The impacts of mental health have major reverberations throughout our communities. From students experiencing anxiety and intense loneliness due to extended virtual learning, to extreme cases of depression as a result of a veteran’s PTSD, the need for effective and available mental health services to support those suffering from a mental health crisis or occurrence is a critical necessity,” Wittman wrote in an October 27 letter announced in a Friday press release.

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Mayor Frey Announces Guaranteed Income Program Ahead of Election

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey joined city leaders Wednesday in announcing a pilot version of a guaranteed basic income (GBI) program.

The announcement comes just days before Minneapolis city elections in which the mayor’s office is on the ballot. Frey is seeking reelection to a second term.

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The City of Phoenix to Hand Out $100 Gift Cards to the First 1000 Takers of COVID Vaccine

The city of Phoenix will incentivize receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at city-sponsored vaccination clinics by handing out $100 gift cards.

The Phoenix City Council approved the pilot program to increase vaccination rates. The program will be funded by federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act.

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Virginia DMV Reopens Part-Time Walk-in Service

People at windows of DMV

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is now open to walk-in service three days a week, 16 months after first opening for appointment-only service following COVID-19 closures in Spring 2020. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday remain appointment-only, but the DMV now provides walk-in service Tuesday, Thursday, and for half days on Saturdays. Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) has been pushing for the DMV to reopen to walk-in service, but he isn’t satisfied with the DMV’s hybrid approach.

“I saw that they’re reopening for in-person again, three days a week, which, to me, I personally don’t understand that. I mean, we’ve required all our schools to be open five days a week for in-person instruction,” he told The Virginia Star

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Virginia Sen. Kaine Pushing House to Pass Bill Focused on Health Care Worker Mental Health

Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) is pushing the House of Representatives to pass his Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, focused on addressing mental health in healthcare professionals. On Wednesday, Kaine held a press conference touting the passage of his bill in the Senate.

“You all have a story about how the time of coronavirus has affected you just as I have a story. But in particular, in particular, the effect of the last year-and-a-half on our front-line health care workers has been incredibly dramatic,” Kaine said.

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State Agencies Make Pitches for Spending Billions in Tennessee American Rescue Plan Act Money

Tennessee’s Financial Stimulus Accountability Group met with state agency heads this week regarding funding requests related to the second half of $3.7 billion in federal American Rescue Plan Act relief.

The group met with 17 departments over two days to hear funding requests for the $1.875 billion in what the committee is calling the Tennessee Resiliency Plan, which will cover local government technical support, health capital projects, public health and economic relief.

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State Rep. Trumbull Calling Seeking More Money for Florida Ports, Infrastructure

Florida State Rep. Jay Trumbull (R-6), House Appropriations Chair, is calling on the Florida Ports industry to lobby for more infrastructure cash while still waiting on federal COVID stimulus money.

Trumbull said he wishes he wishes “we could have done more” for the ports industry, but he is concerned Florida’s ports could lose out on commerce and industry to nearby Alabama and Georgia.

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Many Pandemic Unemployed in Arizona Can Re-File for a Tax Rebate

Arizona taxpayers who received unemployment benefits in 2020 and filed their state tax return before the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) was enacted on March 11 can receive a new income tax refund.

That’s according to a Thursday announcement from the Arizona Department of Revenue. 

Congress passed the ARP to give communities money to address public health and economic recovery issues which resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Old Dominion University Forgives Students Spring 2021 Outstanding Balance

Old Dominion University (ODU) is canceling any unpaid balance its students incurred in the spring 2021 semester. Vice President for Student Engagement and Enrollment Services Donald Stansberry said that an outstanding balance blocks students from receiving diplomas or registering for fall classes.

“Old Dominion is committed to helping our students reach their academic potential,” Stansberry said in a press release. “At a time when many families are facing financial stress because of the pandemic, these CARES Act funds will help eliminate significant roadblocks so students can continue on their academic journeys.”

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Virginia Tourism Corporation Awards Grants to 64 Local Tourism Initiatives

Several people on Virginia Beach

The Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) has awarded $861,080 in state funds to 64 Virginia local tourism initiatives through its Recovery Marketing Leverage Program (RMLP). The funds combine with local match funds of $2.2 million, helping recipients leverage their marketing budgets.

“The tourism and hospitality industries have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic,” Governor Ralph Northam said in the Thursday press release.

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General Assembly Elects Eight Judges to Fill Newly-Expanded Virginia Court of Appeals

RICHMOND, Virginia – The General Assembly approved eight new judges for the Court of Appeals of Virginia Tuesday. Although tradition kept Republicans from voting against the candidates, votes on individual candidates varied as Republican legislators abstained. That completed the General Assembly’s goals for the special session: allocating American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds and filling court vacancies.

“I thought it was an historic session,” Senator Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax) told The Virginia Star. “What just happened with the Court of Appeals was the largest number of judges to go on the Court of Appeals since 1985, and we gave Virginians the same right to appeal their legal matter that every other American has.”

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Senate Democrats Publicly Release $3.5 Trillion Filibuster-Proof Budget Reconciliation Resolution

Senate Democrats have publicly released their $3.5 trillion, filibuster-proof budget reconciliation resolution.

The draft of the legislation released on Monday includes new spending programs that the White House has labeled “human infrastructure,” such as universal pre-K, childcare support and tuition free community college.

The spending total is estimated over a 10-year period. Using budget reconciliation allows the Democrats to pass the measure without votes from Republicans in the 50-50 Senate. Democrats used the same process in March to pass President Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic stimulus package called the American Rescue Plan Act.

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Virginia General Assembly Passes Compromise ARPA Allocation Bill

Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax sp ... inance Chair Senator Janet Howell.

RICHMOND, Virginia – After hammering out a compromise between the House of Delegates and the Senate, the Virginia General Assembly voted to send its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) budget bill to Governor Ralph Northam. The bill passed the House 78-20 and passed the Senate 23-16.

Senate Finance Committee Chair Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) said that she and other senators fought for the Senate’s amendments in a conference committee with representatives from the House.

“As you look at the conference report you will see that on several items our position was affirmed, and on others we were able to compromise,” she reported to the Senate.

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Virginia Senate Passes Amended American Rescue Plan Act Allocation Bill

RICHMOND, Virginia — The Virginia Senate passed its amended version of the $4.3 billion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocation bill late Wednesday evening, after hours of debate on amendments. Although some Republican amendments, including a key law enforcement bonus proposal, were incorporated into the spending bill, many were not. Rejected amendments included a sweeping election integrity amendment and an anti-Critical Race Theory amendment. The final vote on passing the bill was 22-18. Many Republicans said that while they supported some elements of the bill, they disapproved of the process Democrats used, including a vote Wednesday evening to limit debate on each amendment to just three minutes.

Right before the vote to pass the budget, the Senate GOP caucus went into conference. When the senators returned, Minority Leader Thomas Norment, Jr. (R-James City) hinted that many of his caucus would vote against the bill. He said, “It is not so much about the substantive provisions of the budget that we have amended. Rather I believe that the vote you are about to see is going to be a reflection of the frustration and the indignation of the entire process.”

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Virginia House of Delegates Quickly Passes American Rescue Plan Act Spending Bill

RICHMOND, Virginia – The House of Delegates met, passed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) by a 71-25 vote and adjourned in 30 minutes on Wednesday. Facing 107 pages of proposed amendments, a photo-op, and a series of lengthy recesses, the Senate had not completed its debate by press time Wednesday evening although it convened at 10 a.m.

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Virginia House Democrats Defeat Republican Proposals to Alter American Rescue Plan Act Spending Bill

RICHMOND, Virginia – The House of Delegates voted against several Republican attempts to change proposals to allocate $4.3 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds on Tuesday afternoon. House Republicans led by Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) introduced an alternate bill, but it was defeated 53 to 43. House Democrats also defeated amendments from Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach) and attorney general candidate Delegate Jason Miyares (R-Virginia Beach).

“It is a shame that despite our concerns that this process was not opened up to the traditional committee vetting process, that members on this side of the aisle were told, and frankly on your side of the aisle were told, ‘Your input is not welcome.’ I would have hoped that in this process we would have at least been afforded the opportunity to explain our bill, but instead we are left with the inevitable two minutes,” Gilbert said.

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General Assembly Back in Session, in Person, to Allocate ARPA Funds

RICHMOND, Virginia – The budget bill to allocate $4.3 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds passed out of the House of Delegates Committee on Appropriations on Monday, the first step to passing Governor Ralph Northam’s proposals for the money.

But the first day of the second 2022 special session saw legislative gridlock between the Senate and the House of Delegates. The House passed HJ 7003, which establishes the rules and schedule for how the session will operate. When the legislation was sent to the Senate, Senate Democratic leaders introduced three amendments which received broad bipartisan support.

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300,000 Gallons of Raw Sewage Flowed into the James River Upstream of Richmond, Virginia

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is warning people to avoid contact with water in a 12-mile stretch of the James River in Richmond. On Tuesday evening, a Goochland County sewer main ruptured, and remained open for several hours. 300,000 gallons of raw undiluted sewage flowed into Tuckahoe Creek, which flows into the James.

“For the safety of people and pets, VDH is advising that recreational water activities, such as swimming, wading, tubing, and whitewater kayaking (where submersion in the water is likely), should be avoided,” the VDH said in a Thursday press release. “Activities on the waterbodies, which are not likely to result in water submersion (boating, fishing, canoeing), may continue with proper caution to avoid contact with the water.”

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Virginia Gubernatorial Candidate Youngkin Proposes Spending on Taxpayer Relief, Businesses, Education, and Public Safety

RICHMOND,Virginia – Glenn Youngkin announced his $5.8 billion plan for spending Virginia’s surplus revenue and federal American Rescue Plan Act [ARPA] funds at a press conference Thursday morning. The list include $1.5 for taxpayer and family relief; $2.6 billion for jobs, small business, and broadband; $1.2 billion for education; and $0.5 billion for public safety and mental health.

“Thanks to the McAuliffe-Northam failures, the murder rate in Virginia is at a 20-year high. Our economy has fallen behind, jobs have come back slower, and our cost of living is way too high. Our schools are underperforming, and as a result, taxpayers, families, seniors, and our children are suffering,” Youngkin said. “The change we need will not come from a failed politician with stale ideas that he failed to deliver when he had his chance as governor.”

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Virginia Gov. Northam Proposes $862 Million of American Rescue Plan Act Funds to Partially Refill Unemployment Trust Fund

As part of his “Investment Week” announcing American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocation proposals, Governor Ralph Northam announced $862 million for Virginia’s unemployment insurance trust fund, depleted during COVID-19.

“Shoring up the Commonwealth’s unemployment insurance trust fund is a smart investment that will prevent Virginia businesses from paying higher taxes and allow our economy to continue surging,” Northam said in a Tuesday announcement.

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Virginia Ends Fiscal Year 2021 with $2.6 Billion Revenue Surplus

Virginia ended Fiscal Year 2021 with a $2.6 billion surplus, the largest in Virginia’s history, with a 14.5 percent revenue growth over FY 2020.

“We have effectively managed Virginia’s finances through the pandemic, and now we are seeing the results—record-breaking revenue gains, a recovery that has outpaced the nation, and recognition as the best place to do business,” Governor Ralph Northam said in a press release.

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Southeastern Legal Foundation Attorney Cece O’Leary Gives Updates as Judge Rules American Rescue Act Unconstitutional

Southeastern Legal Foundation Attorney Cece O'Leary

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Southeastern Legal Foundation Attorney Cece O’Leary to the newsmakers line to provide updates on the White farmer discrimination case as a judge rules it unconstitutional.

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Advocates Say Millions of Dollars Needed to Help Virginia Tourism Recover

Virginia’s economy is recovering, but Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) President Rita McClenny told legislators this week that a major infusion of $50 million is needed to help the struggling tourism sector.

“The $27 billion tourism engine stalled out in 2020 as a result of the global pandemic. Every component sector was negatively impacted: lodging, food service, attractions, business, conventions,  events, transportation, entertainment and recreation. The entire sector needs financial recovery support,” McClenny told the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee.

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Virginia General Assembly Special Session Set for August

The Virginia General Assembly’s second 2021 special session is scheduled for August 2. One of the top priorities for the legislators will be allocating American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. Although Virginia has already received the money, it can’t be spent until the legislators allocate it.

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Georgia AG Carr Joins 20 Other AGs Who Fear American Rescue Plan Could Hijack State Tax Policy

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr is among 21 state attorneys general calling on the U.S. Department of Treasury to secure states’ rights to implement tax policies under the American Rescue Plan Act.

The attorneys general sent a letter this week to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, asking her to confirm that provisions in the act do not attempt to strip states of their sovereign authority. They argue language in the act is too broad and could be interpreted as a blanket policy.

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