May 2021 Public Policy Roundup

May 2021 Public Policy Roundup

Publication date: 
May, 2021

By Hillary Evans, vice president of professional learning & public policy, Philanthropy Southwest

Public Policy Roundup 5.18.21 (May issue) 

National Highlights & Updates from Washington

  • President Biden is expected to release his 2022 budget request on May 27; infrastructure negotiations continue
  • GivingTuesday Data Commons released a U.S. giving data and trends report with aggregated giving data based on the impact of the 2020 events; click here to review the report
  • Department of Treasury releases guidance on the use of state and local relief funds; funds cannot be used to offset state tax cuts or replenish pension funds
  • House Ways and Means Committee advances the bipartisan Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021; this pared-down version of the Legacy IRA Act would expand the IRA charitable distribution provision to allow for a one-time, $50,000 distribution to charities through charitable gift annuities and charitable remainder trusts

*For more in-depth coverage, please visit Urban Swirski & Associates May 14, 2021 issue of Washington Philanthropy Update

Philanthropy Southwest Co-hosts Legislative Action Day Series

Philanthropy Southwest, in partnership with Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Austin Chapter, OneStar Foundation and United Ways of Texas, hosted virtually a Legislative Action Day Series. This two-day event brought together fundraising professionals, nonprofit and foundation leaders along with policymakers to convene on a range of topics including: demystifying the legislative process, addressing the impact of COVID-19 on the nonprofit sector, foundation engagement on advocacy, and understanding the Texas Legal, Political and Regulatory Landscape as it relates to Nonprofits. LAD concluded with a virtual luncheon on the intersection of government policy and philanthropy through a federal, state, and local lens. PSW looks forward to future collaborations around engaging the nonprofit and charitable sectors. 

Bonton Farms Legislation Passes Texas House and Senate

The Texas House and Senate recently passed a bipartisan bill that would reduce some penalties facing incarcerated individuals exiting the criminal justice system. The legislation, named after a South Dallas urban farm that employees formerly incarcerated people, reduces or resolves outstanding traffic tickets, possible warrants or non-paid fines that may exist from unaddressed issues due to confinement and other Class C misdemeanors that are punishable by fine. The overarching aim of the bill, introduced by Rep. Scott Sanford, R-McKinney, aims to improve the re-entry process and give formerly incarcerated people a second change.

These debilitating fines can cause formerly incarcerated people to become more entrenched in poverty and face mental health challenges that keep them from getting their life back on track once released. Bonton Farms will be the backdrop of Philanthropy Southwest’s inaugural Latinx Mental Health Summit on May 25th. The Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute will present preliminary findings and recommendations on how the philanthropic community can leverage resources and promising practices to support Latinx communities across North Texas and beyond. This type of legislative advocacy and evidenced based research helps to improve systems and support communities.

Update on Fair Representation in Redistricting

The Fair Representation in Redistricting and the Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation (FCCP) held a Quarterly Redistricting Briefing on April 28th. The recording of the briefing is exclusively available to funders and philanthropy serving organizations by clicking hereIf you are interested in receiving regular updates on programming and resources related to redistricting and apportionment, please join FCCP’s Redistricting Listserv. There is a wealth of redistricting information for funders available on the FCCP website (including a Redistricting Funder Toolkit)

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