Connecticut Will Use Federal Funds to Get People Back to Work

Connecticut is focusing on a workforce investment designed to place state residents from underserved communities into high-demand jobs.

Gov. Ned Lamont announced Thursday the state was awarded $23.9 million through the American Rescue Plan’s Good Jobs Challenge through the U.S. Department of Commerce. The funds will be invested into the Office of Workforce Strategy programs designed to place more than 2,000 residents into the workforce.

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Former Georgia Mayor Sentenced to Prison for Stealing COVID-19 Relief Funds

Jason Lary, the former Mayor of the City of Stonecrest, was sentenced to spend close to five years in federal prison for his scheme that stole thousands of COVID-19 relief funds from the federal government.

According to a release from the Department of Justice, the former government official took more than $100,000 from the citizens of his city.

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Georgia to Receive $9.1 Million in Federal Funds for State-Owned Railroads

The federal government is sending more than $9.1 million for a pair of rehabilitation projects on Georgia-owned Class III railroads.

The Federal Railroad Administration will provide nearly $6.2 million to the Heart of Georgia and roughly $2.9 million to the Georgia Southwestern Railroad. The Georgia Department of Transportation owns both lines, and the state will provide a 50% match for the projects.

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Federal Funds to Bolster Acid Mine Drainage Cleanup in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania and other states will split about $11 billion to fund Acid Mine Land reclamation, and a proposed congressional bill would allow that money to fund treatment projects for Acid Mine Drainage, which affects rivers and waterways.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat, introduced the STREAM Act which expands how states can use AML funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Job Act. States would be able to approve projects to treat drainage that contaminates waterways and has long-term impacts, in addition to reclaiming formerly mined land.

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Wisconsin Senate Approves Constitutional Amendment to Grant Legislature Power over Dispersement of Federal Funds

Lawmakers in the Wisconsin State Senate on Tuesday approved a measure that would alter the state’s constitution to award the legislature more power when distributing federal funds awarded to the state.

Under current provisions, the governor of the state has the authority to disperse the funds without legislative approval.

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Republicans Move to Ban Federal Funds to States, Cities That Allow Non-Citizens to Vote

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is leading a coalition of Republicans in Congress to sponsor legislation that would ban federal funding to states or localities that allow foreigners to vote in U.S. elections.

The new legislation, dubbed the Protecting Our Democracy by Preventing Foreign Citizens from Voting Act, was introduced after many liberal municipalities from San Francisco to New York have moved in 2021 to allow non-citizens to cast ballots in local elections

“It’s ridiculous that states are allowing foreign citizens to vote,” Rubio said. “However, if states and localities do let those who are not U.S. citizens to vote in elections, they shouldn’t get U.S. citizen taxpayer money.”

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Gov. Whitmer Directive Prepares Michigan to Fix Infrastructure with Federal Dollars

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive directive Tuesday, which will direct federal funds from the recently signed infrastructure package to fix the state’s roads and bridges.

“Right now, we have an [sic] historic opportunity to put Michiganders first and use the billions in funding we are expected to receive under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to ensure every community has safe, smooth roads and bridges,” Whitmer said in a statement. “With this executive directive, we are getting ready to build up local roads and bridges across Michigan, create thousands of good-paying jobs for Michiganders, and ensure small businesses, downtowns, and neighborhoods have high-quality, reliable infrastructure to rely on as we usher in a new era of prosperity for our state. I look forward to working with the legislature to invest these dollars and get the job done.”

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Some Virginia Colleges Will Continue to Prohibit Marijuana on Campus to Protect Federal Funds

Virginia Commonwealth University

Some Virginia universities intend to prohibit marijuana on campus grounds after it becomes legal for recreational use for adults age 21 and older in the state.

Although the commonwealth will allow legal possession beginning in two weeks, the plant still is illegal at the federal level and a schedule I drug under the controlled substance act. If a university allows marijuana on campus, some universities worry it could threaten their federal funding.

A spokesperson from James Madison University told The Center Square the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices will continue to address incidents of marijuana on campus because use and possession are illegal under federal law.

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Ohio State Controlling Board Splits $90 Million in Federal Funds: 10 Percent to Ohio Department of Health and 90 Percent to ‘Rural Transportation’

The state Controlling Board voted to split $90 million of federal taxpayer money aimed to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic between the Ohio Health Department – which will receive $8.5 million – and rural transportation departments across the state, which will receive the balance of $81.5 million to “aid for rural transportation systems,” according to a statement released by Democrats Monday.

“We need to ensure health care workers and officials on the ground have the tools they need to detect, track and contain this virus before we begin to reopen our state. This funding is a step in the right direction to get us where we need to be, but we’re not there yet,” said Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron).

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