A lot happened during the first 100 days of the new administration and it’s safe to say the pre-pandemic legislative action has returned to Capitol Hill and statehouses across the country. As legislation moves beyond COVID-19, the next 100 days look to be remarkably busy — even for the most seasoned lobbyists and government relations professionals.
With gridlock at the federal level more and more likely to continue this year, government and public affairs teams are looking beyond Capitol Hill to drive their public policy agendas. To help you stay on top of the potential risks and opportunities coming your way, we condensed four of the biggest policy topics you should keep an eye out for at the state level:
1. Consumer data privacy
With no centralized federal consumer data privacy regulations, states have begun ramping up a patchwork of proposals with varying degrees of stringency around consumer data protection. Of the top 50 tracked bills and regulations in FiscalNote over the past six months, 42 percent have been related to data privacy at the state level.
In particular, bills in Virginia, Washington, and Minnesota have garnered the most attention but the landscape continues to change as more states introduce bills around this topic.
Generally speaking, most proposed bills grant consumers the rights to access, correct, delete, or obtain a copy of personal data, and to opt-out of the processing of personal data for targeted advertising. They also stipulate who will have the authority to enact the bill and enforce violations in each state, as well as how to fund these efforts.
State legislatures are hoping President Joe Biden’s pledge to push for a $1 trillion infrastructure spending package this year can get through Congress. That’s because states wrangling with pandemic-strapped budgets will need a massive plug of federal funding to augment underway projects or get others started with state dollars during the post-COVID recovery at a premium to meet, among other demands, pressing healthcare and education needs.
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Boosting, and potentially revising, federal transportation funding, particularly for roads and bridges, has been a priority for state lawmakers across the nation for years. The United States faces a $2.59 trillion shortfall in upgrading road networks, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), which urges all levels of government to increase investment in roads to 3.5 percent from 2.5 percent of U.S. gross domestic product by 2025.
Lawmakers in 2021 sessions are contending with myriad education-related issues fostered by the pandemic through the same all-encompassing “COVID-19 lens” dominating deliberations in nearly every other realm of concern. In the first quarter of 2021, more than 24,000 education-related bills were introduced at the state level, and almost 300 at the federal level.
This year, the trends are in the issues: While state lawmakers are awash in a raft of pandemic-induced budget pressures, they are also weighing significant policy changes to remedy inequities exposed during the emergency, respond to emergent needs, and capitalize on the potential opportunities that a reshaped landscape offers to “reimagine education.”
All but two of the nation’s 50 state legislatures were in session in mid-February dealing with “normal” policy issues — budget, education, healthcare, environmental regulation — but doing so through an anything-but-normal, all-encompassing “COVID-19 lens.” Healthcare issues such as Medicaid expansion and innovation, prescription drug pricing, healthcare cost transparency, scale-of-practice expansions, and building telehealth capacities were all pre-pandemic trends that gained traction in 2020 sessions and will continue to do so in 2021, with the added urgency in many states of adopting COVID-19 liability protections for healthcare providers and practitioners.
Mitigate Risk and Seize Opportunity on the Policy that Matters to Your Organization with FiscalNote State
With FiscalNote State, you won’t have to search through multiple online state registers to stay on top of developments that impact your organization. Use our tool to be proactively alerted to legislation and regulation that impacts you from all 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico including bills, regulations, research reports, committees, hearings, voting records, and state executive orders. You can also identify champions and new advocates by leveraging legislator data (including social media profiles) and analytics such as effectiveness, scores, ideologies, and voting similarity.
Discover and monitor state legislative and regulatory developments, prioritize outreach, and manage relationships with thousands of state lawmakers and other key stakeholders with FiscalNote State.
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