Archive for March, 2012
Just a quick note: OMB is extending the deadline for submitting comments on its “Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” relating to the grants management requirements overhaul. The new comment deadline is April 30.
To read the original February 29 Federal Register notice describing OMB’s ideas for reforming grants management, click here.
I picked up some very interesting information about the DATA Act at last week’s NGP webcast.
According to Cornelia Chebinou (NGP co-chair and the director of NASACT’s Washington, DC office) The legislation that will eventually be debated on the full House floor will be significantly different than the measure that came out of the House committee. The House is using a “manager’s amendment” to make significant changes to the bill. There were few details on what the changes would be, but one thing that was mentioned was the fact that the bill will no longer repeal FFATA.
Also, bill sponsor Rep. Darrell Issa asked Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor to bring it to House floor as soon as possible once the amendment is done. The Senate has said it won’t act on the bill until it sees what comes out of the House.
So we might have a case of wait, wait, wait, and then some very swift action.
Just as a reminder, the DATA Act in its current form would require all recipients of grants, loans and contracts (with some exceptions for small-dollar recipients), as well as federal agencies to provide transaction information about those awards at least quarterly. A new Federal Accountability and Spending Transparency Board would set the standards for the data and would compile, analyze and publish the information.
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Legislation has been introduced in both the House and Senate to update the nearly 75-year-old Hatch Act, a law that governs the political activities of federal, state, and local government employees.
The Hatch Act Modernization Act of 2012 would make three major changes:
• State and local government employees covered by the Hatch Act would be allowed to run for partisan elective office.
• The Merit Systems Protection Board (which rules on alleged Hatch Act violations) would have more options for penalties. Currently, the only penalty, regardless of the level of the infraction, is immediate termination. Under the proposed legislation, the board could also impose sanctions such as reprimands, suspensions, demotions, or fines.
• Employees of the District of Columbia would be subject to the same restrictions that apply to employees of state and local government agencies. Under the current act they are treated as federal employees.
It has been nearly 20 years since Congress revised the Hatch Act and supporters of the new legislation say the proposed changes are “common sense” revisions that are desperately needed. Do you have any thoughts on the Hatch Act?
I’ll be tracking this legislation as it moves through Congress, so keep watching this post.