Congressional Roundup: Clean Energy, ACERT, PILT

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It’s June 7, 2021. Here’s a recap of what’s been going on lately with New Hampshire’s Congressional Delegation.

Congressional dome. Credit/Wikimedia Commons

Clean Energy for America Act

U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan joined colleagues on the Senate Finance Committee yesterday in advancing the Clean Energy for America Act, which included key provisions that Senator Hassan authored to combat climate change and support Granite Staters.

“Investing in the clean energy economy will help create more jobs in New Hampshire and protect our lakes, rivers, and forests. I’m also glad that this bill includes provisions based on my legislation to help lower energy costs for Granite Staters and reduce carbon emissions,” said Hassan. “This landmark piece of legislation is good for Granite Staters’ pocketbooks, for our health, and the special places we love, and I look forward to continuing to push forward this legislation.”

National ACERT legislation introduced

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01) have introduced Senate and House versions of the National ACERT Grant Program Authorization Act, which would provide federal resources for communities to address adverse childhood experiences associated with exposure to trauma. By helping to establish programs that allow law enforcement and first responders to connect with local child specialists and professionals, resources from the legislation would facilitate early intervention to help mitigate the impacts of childhood trauma.

ACEs, or Adverse Childhood Experiences, are events in a child’s life which have a heavy impact on their future wellbeing, success in life and risk of violence. This legislation would allow for the creation of ACE Response Teams (ACERTs) which would provide services and care to children who have experienced trauma.

“Study after study has shown that repeated exposure to traumatic experiences can have devastating, long-term consequences on children’s physical, mental and emotional development, posing serious threats to their future success and well being. With many Granite State families grappling with crises like the substance use disorder epidemic that often impart trauma on children, it’s essential that our first responders have the resources they need to invest in early intervention and keep our kids safe,” said Shaheen. “This legislation would establish a grant program to support the development and creation of critical, proven programs like ACERT in Manchester across the nation. Grant programs like this play an important role in empowering our communities with the tools they need to help break the cycle of trauma and ensure our children have healthy, successful futures.”

“Adverse childhood experiences can have lifelong impacts on children, and the economic and health impacts of the pandemic have only exacerbated the challenges New Hampshire’s kids are facing,” said Pappas. “That is why ACE response teams (ACERTs) are crucial tools for communities which bring together law enforcement officers, fire fighters, and first responders – who often are the first face a child sees after a traumatic experience – and partners them with local health providers and child advocates to help mitigate trauma and ensure our children not only overcome these experiences, but have bright futures and live full lives. I’m proud to join with Senator Shaheen in introducing this legislation, and I remain committed to working to build bipartisan support for this bill and take what has been developed right here in New Hampshire and share it at the national level.”

The legislation authorizes $10 million a year for four years for the Department of Justice (DOJ) & Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a national ACERT program, modeled on the pilots here in New Hampshire.

The text of the legislation can be read here.

Shaheen urges for more PILT funding

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Mike Crapo (R-ID) and a bipartisan group of lawmakers in urging Senate Appropriations Committee leadership to fully fund the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program for fiscal year (FY) 2022. PILT provides payments to counties with non-taxable federal land within their borders to offset lost property tax revenue.

“Without full funding for the PILT program, counties across the nation will be unable to provide essential services such as law enforcement, education, search and rescue, road maintenance and public health to their residents and millions of visitors to our public lands,” wrote the Senators. “Moving forward, we look forward to working with you to enact a fiscally responsible, long-term solution to fully fund PILT and eliminate the uncertainty that counties face each year. As cash strapped counties across the country work to address budget cuts exacerbated by the pandemic, full-funding and a long-term solution for PILT is essential to provide certainty that the federal government will continue to uphold its long-standing commitment to public lands counties.”

Across the country, PILT provides critical resources to nearly 1,900 counties across 49 states.

The text of the letter is available here.