Action Took Place in Metro Economies, Community Development and Housing, Criminal and Social Justice Committees
On Wednesday, August 25th, the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) gathered virtually for the second day of the 89th Annual Meeting. On a busy day, three separate standing committees considered and advanced a host of policy resolutions and discussed important challenges facing American cities. Adopted resolutions will serve as the official policy of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and drive the organization’s advocacy efforts. Among them was a resolution expressing support for the resettlement of Afghanistan refugees and those who supported the United States efforts in the country.
Criminal and Social Justice Committee, Chaired by Kansas City (MO) Mayor Quinton Lucas
The Committee, led by Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, considered eighteen policy resolutions under the Committee’s jurisdiction. Speaking to one of the timeliest matters of the day, a resolution “In Support of Afghan Interpreters and Allies of the U.S. Armed Forces” was discussed at length. And after an amendment from Mayor Todd Gloria of San Diego, CA, the resolution was approved.
The President and CEO of the National Immigration Forum Ali Noorani also spoke to the committee about what is currently happening in Afghanistan and what the next steps will be for refugees and cities as people begin to arrive in the U.S. to be resettled. Noorani discussed the key role that mayors can play in the coming months to welcome the new members of their community.
Chairman Lucas reiterated the importance of the work that mayors are doing to aid in the resettlement of Afghan refugees.
During resolution debate, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot offered a statement on the need to address public safety issues including the rise in gun violence and the COVID-19 pandemic. The Committee also discussed and advanced resolutions that dealt with the integration of mental health services to transform public safety and another voicing support of the CROWN Act. Other resolutions tackled issues such as supporting police reform, community-based gun violence interruption and the Equality Act.
A full list of the approved resolutions can be found here. Next, they will move on to be considered by the Executive Committee for its approval and adoption as official USCM policy.
Metro Economies Standing Committee, Chaired by Hartford (CT) Mayor Luke Bronin
In his first meeting as Chair of the Metro Economies Standing Committee, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin presided over the consideration of 13 resolutions.
Twelve resolutions were introduced by various mayors prior the meeting, and eleven were adopted en bloc with no opposition. Three such resolutions promoted the adoption, or permanent extension, of tax credits at the federal level. Other resolutions called for action on economic mobility, closing the racial wealth gap, advancing entrepreneurship, and making evidence-based investments.
Resolution 78, In Support of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO), was considered separately at the request of Brookfield (WI) Mayor Steven Ponto. Introduced by USCM President Dayton (OH) Mayor Nan Whaley and Tucson (AZ) Mayor Regina Romero, the resolution supports the PRO Act and other federal legislation to protect employee collective bargaining. After discussion and debate, the resolution was passed without amendment.
Following the adoption of all twelve pre-proposed resolutions, Albuquerque (NM) Mayor Tim Keller introduced a thirteenth and final resolution for consideration. The resolution, which promotes the adoption of software to automatically apply appropriate lodgers’ tax to short-term vacation rentals, was seconded by Lansing (MI) Mayor Andy Shor and adopted without objection.
A full list of the approved resolutions can be found here. They too will now move on to be considered by the Executive Committee before becoming official USCM policy.
Chairman Bronin concluded the meeting by stressing that cities and towns not being forgotten in federal relief processes and emphasizing that the Committee’s initiatives will help the nation recover and build back better from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Community Development and Housing Standing Committee, Chaired by Atlanta (GA) Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
Committee Chairwoman Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms presided over the meeting of the Community Development and Housing Standing Committee. Having decided to not seek a second term earlier this summer, Mayor Bottoms gave brief remarks highlighting her work to make Atlanta a more affordable and equitable city for all and noting her gratitude to have served as chair.
The meeting began with consideration of eleven, pre-proposed policy resolutions under the Committee’s jurisdiction.
The Committee discussed and advanced two resolutions to mitigate a nationwide lack of affordable housing. Other resolutions urged housing investment in the next infrastructure package, robust federal funding of programs to address homelessness and climate resiliency in affordable and public housing. All eleven resolutions were passed en bloc with no opposition.
Mesa (AZ) Mayor John Giles introduced a twelfth resolution, in support of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) programs, for consideration of the committee. Seconded Raleigh (NC) Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin, the resolution was adopted.
A full list of the approved resolutions can be found here.
Following resolution consideration, Mayors heard from Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and US Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) officials on homelessness and eviction updates.
HUD officials briefed mayors on initiatives to address lack of affordable housing and current eviction prevention resources. Officials emphasized that the current CDC moratorium is a temporary fix to the ongoing housing crisis and that local governments are needed to move rental assistance into communities as quickly as possible. Peggy Bailey, Senior Adviser on Rental Assistance, pointed mayors to updated Treasury guidance on rental assistance funds and explained key HUD initiatives to prevent evictions. Sarah Brundage, Deputy Assistant Secretary, walked mayors through President Biden’s plan to bolster affordable housing with his Build Back Better agenda.
Interim Director of USICH, Anthony Love, emphasized the Biden Administration’s commitment to listen to local stakeholders and use evidence-based best practices in its coordinated response to homelessness.
In the meeting, USCM President and Dayton (OH) Mayor Nan Whaley thanked Chairwoman Bottoms for her service and Mayor Giles for introducing the CDBG resolution. Having pledged that the Committee will continue its important work to assure that Americans are housed and communities keep running during the ongoing pandemic, Chairwoman Bottoms adjourned the meeting.