Common Language in State Performance Recovery Plans

by Christina Gordley 

The coronavirus pandemic exacerbated health disparities, with marked differences in health outcomes linked to social, economic or environmental disadvantages observed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 2021 American Rescue Plan Act was designed, in part, to achieve greater equity. Guidance from the U.S. Treasury required that funds be used to address systemic public health and economic challenges that have contributed to the inequitable health and welfare impact of the pandemic on certain populations.  

CSG analysists conducted a review of the language in the state performance recovery plans that each state — so far — submitted to the U.S. Department of the Treasury to help illustrate how the states are using the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to achieve equitable outcomes.  

Of the 36 plans available by press time (states continue to submit and publish these plans), 29 states addressed the intent and plan to achieve equitable outcomes using the state and local fiscal recovery funds. CSG analyzed the text of these submitted plans to examine the similarities in the approach and actions taken by the states.  

Nationally, the most used word in the section to describe state actions was “business,” which was used 122 times among the documents. While it may seem odd for the use of business so frequently to address inequalities in systemic barriers, states have the unique position to leverage use of incentives and procurement models to promote businesses to achieve desired outcomes in workforce equity. 

Words used nationally to address equitable outcomes by frequency are: 

  1. Business 
  1. Service 
  1. Access 
  1. Impact 
  1. Economy 
  1. Provide 
  1. Health 
  1. Pandemic 
  1. Education 
  1. Recovering 

Each state faces unique needs and challenges when addressing equity, and when examining the approach to equitable outcomes by region, the focus of the language in the state-submitted reports changed. For example, states in the East referenced business, service, impact and access most during their report on equitable outcomes, whereas in the West, the words most used were health, provide, house and business. 

Read more about ARP equity guidance in Capitol Ideas magazine (2021, Issue 5)

Kentucky Extraordinary Session Ends, Some Emergency Powers Remain

Kentucky held a special legislative session ending on Sept. 10, during which legislators challenged the power of the Governor.

During the 2020 onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the legality of several governor’s emergency orders came into question.

In Kentucky, Governor Andy Beshear shuttered schools, businesses he deemed non-essential and gyms in his effort to fight the virus. As the days wore on, he instituted a statewide mask requirement for businesses to open back up.

Kentucky freshman legislator Adrienne Southworth quickly filed a bill in response — Senate Bill 158 — which would prohibit any law, regulation, executive order or mandate from requiring a facial covering. The bill died in the Senate health and welfare committee.

As the session wrapped up, Beshear’s emergency powers were curtailed. The Kentucky Supreme Court ended the ongoing state of emergency that began in March 2020 in August. A three-day special session began on Sept. 7.

The mask mandate was removed in public schools as legislators passed SB 1. The legislature passed SB 2 which requires mask mandates to be delivered by businesses and local governments rather than by the governor. This bill also prohibited the state from instituting a visitor ban at nursing homes. Senate bills 1 and 2 were enacted despite Governor Beshear’s veto.

“What did they do?,” Governor Beshear said in a press conference. “They punted on first out.”

Senate President Robert Stivers disagreed.

“Why do you say we have punted when virtually all school systems have voted to continue the mask mandate?” Stivers said. “We felt that it would be better for local people to make local decisions. We didn’t punt anything.”

SB 3 was signed into law. SB 3 will utilize $69 million federal dollars to fight the pandemic in Kentucky.

In a surprise twist for the Republican-run legislature, House Joint Resolution 1 extended the Governor’s ability to declare a state of emergency until Jan. 15, 2022.

Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act: Power Grids, Utilities and Electric Vehicles

by Dakota Thomas

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act[1] — also referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Package — was signed into law by President Joe Biden on Nov. 15, 2021. The bill contains $1.2 trillion in total funding ($550 billion of which is new spending) for various infrastructure purposes, including roads and bridges, broadband, drinking water resources, airports, electrical vehicles and more. In this brief, analysts at The Council of State Governments break down the $73 billion in funding allocated for power grids and utilities improvements and the $12.5 billion for electric vehicle chargers and buses, through the lens of state needs. Power grid and utility improvements are tied as the third largest funding source in the bill.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill will add a total of $256 billion to the national deficit. While it is difficult to know the full macroeconomic effects of the bill, Moody’s Analytics provides estimates of the effects on employment and the gross domestic product by the infrastructure package.

Funding Breakdown

States are eligible to apply for the competitive grants and revolving loan programs funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act listed here. Other programs, like the Weatherization Assistance Program, are open to applications from individuals or other stakeholders (e.g. hydroelectric plants). 

Power Grids

  • Funds the creation of four clean hydrogen hubs to generate electricity – $8 billion.
  • Subsidizes current nuclear power plants – $6 billion.
  • Establishes new competitive grants to enhance resilience of the electrical grid – $5 billion over five years.
  • Adds funding to the Weatherization Assistance Program – $3.5 billion in fiscal year 2022.
  • Creates competitive grant for modernizing energy infrastructure – $3 billion over five years.
  • Establishes revolving loan fund for replacement or enhancement of electrical transmission lines – $2.5 billion over five years.
  • Adds funding to and expands the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program – $550 million in fiscal year 2022.
  • Establishes competitive grants for enhancing energy efficiency in schools, including improvements, repairs or renovations to lower energy costs – $500 million over five years.
  • Allocates funding for capital improvements to existing hydroelectric power facilities to improve grid resiliency, dam safety and lower environmental impact – $553 million.
  • Adds funding to incentivize hydroelectric power generation – $125 million.
  • Creates a transmission facilitation program for eligible projects like creating or replacing transmission lines, increasing transmission capacity or connecting microgrids to larger corridors – $50 million over five years.

Electric Vehicles (EVs)

  • Establishes federal funding for EV charger infrastructure – $7.5 billion.
  • Establishes federal funding for EV school buses – $5 billion.
  • Establishes grants for states for battery processing – $3 billion over five years.
  • Creates an EV working group to provide recommendations on integrating EVs into the energy system and orders a demonstration project to use EVs as decentralized energy storage and a study of the environmental impacts of EV use.

For a breakdown of estimated electric vehicle charging infrastructure formula funding by state, see the chart below. Note that figures are estimates and do not include the competitive grants for which states, territories and the District of Columbia are eligible to apply.

Sources and Resources

EV Charging Infrastucture Funding

EV Charging Infrastructure Formula Funding by State/Territory (in millions, USD)  
UnitEV Charging Station Funding (estimated)
District of Columbia$17
New Hampshire$17
New Jersey$104
New Mexico$38
New York$175
North Carolina$109
North Dakota$26
Puerto Rico$13.6
Rhode Island$23
South Carolina$70
South Dakota$29
West Virginia$46

Data Source:  White House State Fact Sheets

Note that figures are estimates and do not include the competitive grants for which states, territories and the District of Columbia are eligible to apply.

[1] Also commonly known as the “Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework.”