Legislative Report August 2020

Legislative Report August 2020
Jillian Bateman — September 14, 2020

Federal Legislative Report Summary

While August is normally a month for Congress to take a recess, some work was done as both chambers grapple with COVID-19 and its impact on the overall economy.

H.R. 8014 would authorize the issuance of United States Victory Bonds to aid in the funding of public health operations and small business assistance during the coronavirus pandemic, and for other purposes.

S. 4489 reduces the amount of loan forgiveness by (1) the amount of a recipient’s after-tax income, or (2) the increase in net assets if the recipient is a nonprofit organization. A recipient seeking loan forgiveness must submit documentation verifying after-tax income and net assets to determine any paycheck protection loan repayment. Further, the bill requires the disclosure of paycheck protection loan information in accordance with applicable laws.

One non-COVID bill that is worth noting is S. 4418, the 21st Century Buy American Act. This bill establishes additional criteria that must be met before federal agencies may grant exceptions or waivers to Buy American requirements. The bill also (1) requires the General Services Administration to establish a public website with details regarding waivers and exceptions that have been requested, are under consideration, or have been granted by agencies; (2) increases the domestic content percentage requirement to 60%; and (3) authorizes the Department of Defense to establish a program to make or guarantee loans to certain domestic manufacturers.

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State Legislative Report Summary

While August is traditionally the slowest month for legislative activity among states, we know by now there is nothing traditional about this year. Over a dozen states had legislation introduced or moved during the last month, with 48 bills included in this report. Six bills were enacted into law and, not surprisingly, they were all related to COVID-19.

Idaho (HB 6) and Tennessee (HB 8001/SB 8002) passed legislation that limits civil liability claims related to COVID-19. These are the two most recent states to pass similar legislation that is designed to protect individuals and businesses against COVID-19 civil suits.

Mississippi passed SB 3053, which provides relief payments for small businesses to offset COVID-19 related expenses.

Utah passed two bills that address income taxes and mortgage relief. SB 6005 clarifies that forgiven loans through the CARES Act funds will not be considered taxable for state income taxes. SB 6009 modified provisions to the Commercial Rental and Mortgage Assistance Program, the Impacted Businesses Grant Program and several other changes under previously adopted COVID-related measures.

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