Public Policy Updates – June 1, 2020

June 1, 2020

Last week was full of policy decisions and developments, setting the stage for more to come.   

On May 27  Governor Hogan announced very encouraging news on COVID-19 testing results along with the opening of 36 additional testing sites around the state. The “positivity” rate has declined by more than half from its high point around the state, including in Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties. Governor Hogan then issued the seventh amendment to his original emergency closing order, moving to further implement “Phase One” of his reopening plan. This now gives counties more flexibility to allow recreation, restaurants, and other businesses to operate on a modified basis as long as consistent with health guidelines. Additionally, on May 29, Hogan extended the June 1 expiration of the prohibition against utility shutoffs until July 1. 

Federally, the House passed a Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act on Thursday, expanding and extending the program by an almost unanimous vote, and Senate action may be quick in the coming week.  

Tomorrow a bipartisan group of six Senators is leading a webinar, hosted by numerous national charities, on the importance of expanding federal giving incentives in response to the pandemic. The number of organizations that participate will have an impact, and we urge you to register for the 5 pm Tuesday (6/2/2020) program. 

Finally, state and national level nonprofits are working to head-off crippling costs of unemployment benefits. While the CARES Act provided 50% relief for reimbursers, the US Department of Labor is requiring the states to collect 100% first before the relief is granted. Over 1,000 nonprofits, plus local governments, are caught in this. If it affects your organization please take this short national survey now to help our advocacy efforts.

A final note: For charity advisers and others interested in state charity registration requirements, the Secretary of State’s Office is sharing a tool recently published by the National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO) on May 15, 2020 — a Survey of State Laws Governing Registration of Charities. This survey includes information regarding relief certain states have provided in light of the COVID-19 crisis. The Survey is available on the NASCO website. (The guide is intended for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.  Since the regulatory landscape for registration often changes, users of the Survey should consult individual states to confirm requirements or address any concerns.)