What is Your Local Government’s Role in Mental Health?

psychologist working in her office on her laptop with a mental health patient

It comes to no surprise that local governments play a heavy role in our community’s access to health services. Decisions that they make today have a lasting impact on our family, friends, neighbors, and the rest of our community. Mental health is a growing concern in today’s society, and much like other areas of healthcare, relies on the support of our government. 

Agenda Discovery allows its users to stay on top of legislation that impedes their business’s success. Healthcare is a tremendous concern for everyone, and as employers, can take a heavy toll on your workforce. Read our article below to learn what your local government’s role is on mental health services and how our legislative tracking software can help.

Local Government Can Increase Community Connectivity Through Public Transit

Some communities that promote mental health put great emphasis on social interaction through active transportation options, like walking, biking, and public transit. Active transportation networks allow us to conduct day-to-day activities without spending our time in a car and allows people from all walks of life to participate in the community. Having a connected community has tremendous effects on our mental health by increasing our trust and social interaction among the area’s members.

Local governments around the country are adopting bike lanes and changing traffic patterns to promote community engagement. Additionally, they’re beautifying areas to attract residents and tourists who seek recreation.  This is just one example of how legislators and city planners are working together to enrich our mental health.

Local Governments Invest in Programs and Services That Promote Mental Health

Our government has the power to invest in programs to support residents in transitioning into key life stages like maternal and child health programs, childcare, and youth and family-based services. Additionally, local governments are able to support community organizations such as charities, community groups, neighborhood houses, sporting clubs, and senior citizen clubs. 

Investing in these areas has tremendous potential in maintaining mentally healthy communities. It’s similar to how we’re building transportation networks, it promotes community connectivity and provides support during critical moments in our lives. 

Medicaid Provides Mental Health Support

According to Pew Trusts, Medicaid was the largest funding source for mental health treatment in 2009 and has since continued its support. However, it’s important to note that a local government’s role in funding mental health services varies across the U.S. While all states receive federal support via Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program), each can designate how much they’d like to fund their mental health system. 

For instance, American Addiction Centers broke down the total amount of state mental health agency expenditures in every state. According to their research, the top states funding mental health are California, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and New Jersey. 

Local Governments Fund Mental Health Awareness Campaigns

In 2016, New York City subway riders were met with a series of banners creatively letting people know depression does not define them. ThriveNYC as it was called, relied entirely on local government funding to bring awareness to the seriousness of mental health. The New York City campaign intended to improve access to mental health by breaking the stigma of seeking mental health treatment. 

Other localities can improve their community’s mental health by launching similar campaigns. Between ThriveNYC and its funding towards health programs, the city was able to provide greater support for those struggling with mental health issues. 

Agenda Discovery Helps You Stay on Top of Local Government Activity

At our core, Agenda Discovery makes local government more transparent. We provide a way for our users to monitor local agendas on specific issues with regulatory and accuracy. With our automated search process, we make it easy for you to stay on top of what matters most. Our software sends relevant alerts straight to your email via customized keyword monitoring. Contact Agenda Discovery today to experience a free demo of our incredible legislative tracker.

How Local Governments Protect Water Quality

how to protect water quality

State and Federal regulations help protect water resources, but do not do the whole job. Local governments have a very important role to play in the protection of surface water, ground water, drinking water, and wetlands, often filling in the gaps in State and Federal regulations. If the local government does not do so with local zoning, those gaps may not be addressed. 

Roles of Local Government in Water Quality Control

Local governments are playing very important roles in environmental water quality management. One of their responsibilities includes establishing and implementing environmental water quality monitoring programs. Water quality monitoring programs include: 

  • Categories or parameters 
  • Identifying toxic substances 
  • Parameters and special parameters for living environment
  • Identification of other parameters including Phosphorus and Chloride ion
  • Identification of physical parameters such as weather, water flow rate, and atmospheric temperature

In addition to establishing and implementing water quality monitoring programs, local governments also undertake pollution control measures, which include: 

  • Regulating factories based on laws and ordinances 
  • Maintaining and constructing additional sewerage lines and sewage treatment systems 
  • Purifying water in waterways 
  • Controlling pollution from new high-tech industries such as the electronic industries 

One of the biggest topics addressed regarding water quality control is groundwater. Many steps are being taken to keep contaminants from getting into our groundwater supplies. Manufacturers are using fewer toxic raw materials and consumers have switched to phosphate-free detergents and other less polluting household products. Since groundwater is an important and vital resource for all people, it is important to protect it. 

How to Protect and Conserve Groundwater 

Conserving water is essential. By simply reducing the amount of water that we use, our water supply will last longer. The top 10 ways to protect and conserve groundwater include: 

  • Disposing of chemicals properly 
  • Take used motor oil to a recycling center 
  • Limit the amount of fertilizer used on plants 
  • Take shorter showers 
  • Shut water off while brushing teeth 
  • Run full loads of dishes and laundry 
  • Check for leaky faucets and have them fixed 
  • Abandon all wells that are not needed 
  • Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator
  • Get involved in water education 

By taking these steps, local communities can play a role in the conservation of groundwater in addition to the help of the local government. 

The Federal Environmental Protection Agency 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plays an important and unique role in keeping our environment clean, although most of the heavy lifting in American environmental protection is done by State and local governments. The EPA provides technical assistance to support recovery planning of public health and infrastructure, such as waste water treatment plants, technical assistance for long-term cleanup to minimize public health threats, and provides environmental surveillance. 

In addition, the EPA subsidizes state and local programs, oversees states, and conducts scientific research, but state and local governments do the day-to-day work of environmental protection. 

Functions such as water supply and sewage treatment are critical environmental services typically performed by local governments. State and local governments have no choice but to keep our waste and poison out of our water supply. 

Stay Current on Policies That Matter with Agenda Discovery

You can expect to be the first to know about current policies when you invest in Agenda Discovery’s legislative tracking software. With it, you will consistently be updated on the latest developments happening in your local government and how their policies may impact you. Contact us today to schedule a demo and learn how our software can help you stay ahead of the curve.

How is Local Government Spending COVID-19 Stimulus Dollars?

dollar bills on white background local government stimulus money

In early March, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which allocated $350 billion to state and local governments across the United States. In addition to that, another $175 billion is being provided for education programs, primarily those in K-12. While this is a significant amount of relief for those facing dire situations due to the COVID-19 crisis, there is a framework on how the stimulus dollars can be used. 

Agenda Discovery is a legislative tracking tool that allows businesses and non-profit organizations the ability to stay on top of developing laws that can impact their operations. With the string of stimulus dollars making their way into local government hands, it’s important to be aware of where it is going towards. We’ve written this article to educate you on the areas and industries benefiting from these dollars. 

Local Governments are Using Stimulus to Support the Education Sector

Since the beginning of the pandemic, public and private schools have been hit extremely hard. To maintain the health and safety of school staff, students, and parents; schools across the United States made the transition to virtual learning to adapt to these unprecedented times. 

To obtain funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, schools will submit proposals that mitigate strategies for safe reopening, evidence-based interventions, and how the spending will meet the needs of disadvantaged students. Additionally, schools will outline any other spending plans to ensure successful educational programs.

Most of the money allocated to K-12 schools will go directly to school districts based on the proportion of funding they receive. Some things schools have been using their stimulus money with are:

  • Staff training on proper sanitation and personal protective equipment use
  • Purchasing hardware and software to efficiently conduct remote and hybrid learning
  • Repairing school facilities, like ventilation systems, to improve air quality and reduce the risk of spreading the virus
  • And much more

The American Rescue Plan Act Will Significantly Impact Health Insurance

Under ARPA, it will eliminate an income cap that restricts people from Affordable Care Act tax credits to help reduce monthly insurance premiums. This law has a tremendous effect on our local communities, as it allows people above the poverty level to enjoy these tax credits. Additionally, it limits the amount of money people pay for marketplace health insurance to 8.5%, as opposed to the previous 9.83%. It’s a huge advantage for community members, but we will see how this impacts the local healthcare industry.

The Stimulus Benefits Local Health and Human Services Across the U.S.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Services (HHS), $150 million will be allocated to community-based health care providers to aid in their response to COVID-19. Its goal is to strengthen relief efforts and enhance services and infrastructure across the country. This ensures that these critical institutions get the resources they need to continue to operate and serve their communities. 

How the ARPA Benefits Local Transportation

The U.S. Department of Transportation has indicated that the American Rescue Plan Act will provide immediate relief for the transportation industry and its workers. This ensures local transportation systems continue to operate and its workers are equipped with personal protective equipment, essential goods and services, and vaccines to combat the pandemic. 

The ARPA contains a $30.5 billion stimulus specifically to assist with operating costs, including payroll and PPE expenses. Dedicated funds will support transportation services for the elderly and individuals with disabilities, and urban, rural, and tribal transit systems.

Track Local Law Developments with Agenda Discovery

This is only a fraction of what is being done with the ARPA stimulus. With the Agenda Discovery legislative tracking software, you can stay on top of any developments as a result of their newfound funds to assist during the pandemic. Contact Agenda Discovery today to learn how this innovative software keeps local government transparent.

3 Waste Disposal Issues Happening Around The United States

A pile of trash from different fast food restaurants showing improper waste disposal

One of the most important topics of discussion in our society is the mounting waste disposal problem our world is facing. Many experts say the world’s trash is at a crisis level, and we must act now to reverse its impact. As a result, many local government agencies are facing new challenges to reversing their effects on the environment and their communities. That is why we’ve highlighted 3 waste disposal issues happening in the United States.

Table of Contents

Cities in Arizona Face a Recycling Program Issue

Recycling has become an important element in a number of cities’ waste disposal programs. It helps reduce the need for extracting, refining, and processing raw materials, which creates significant pollution. The State of Arizona has their own recycling program that is designed to reduce harmful waste. However, the state is in danger of eliminating the program.

Many cities in Arizona are cutting back on this form of waste disposal because of a lack of understanding about what is recyclable and what is not. According to Cronkite News, cheesy pizza boxes, plastic grocery bags, and grass clippings are just a few items found in the recycling facilities. These warehouses manually sort through recyclables and non-recyclables, and when they find something doesn’t belong, it comes at a cost, and the city is the one who pays the bill.

Los Angeles Has a Growing Trash Problem

According to Signe Okkels Larsen, of the 12 million tons of trash in Los Angeles, 25% ends up in landfills, while 76% makes its way to a recycling plant. This number has made Los Angeles one of the best places for recycling in the United States. However, the city is facing a problem, they’re running out of landfill space. As a result, they’ve been looking for ways to rid themselves of their trash. Alternatives have included “waste-to-energy” technologies and simply shipping them into landfills in faraway deserts. Waste-to-energy technologies, such as trash incinerators are a controversial form of waste disposal, but they are capable of providing much-needed energy while eliminating waste. 

California is Cracking Down on E-Waste

Electronic waste, or e-waste, is one of the fastest-growing types of waste on the planet. According to Statista, in 2019 approximately 54 million metric tons were produced worldwide, primarily in developed nations. The items are often exported to developing countries, having a negative impact on their environment.  

California has very strict regulations when it comes to electronic waste disposal. But, many large companies are ignoring them. Many retailers are paying costly fines due to illegally landfilling their electronic items. Companies such as Walgreens, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Ross Stores, are paying millions of dollars for their mistake. In one case, some of the scraps are suspected to have ignited two fires. 

Track Waste Disposal Regulations with Agenda Discovery

Waste disposal regulations impact almost every business in the United States. Companies must stay on top of these laws to ensure they’re not negatively affected by them. At our core, we make local government agencies more transparent. With our legislative tracking software, you will be alerted of any updates relating to your industry. Request a demo today to find out why Agenda Discovery is the right choice for you.

How Does The Local Government Regulate The Utilities Sector?

Vast farmland that is populated with windmills local government

Most people receive their utility services from private companies that are regulated at the Federal, State, and local government level. These private utility companies must abide by regulations made at the State and local level by public service commissions. Whether the company specializes in water or energy, State and local governments will regulate the industry to look out for the public’s best interests and to ensure all utilities are natural monopolies. So, you may be wondering: how does the State government regulate utilities we all rely on? Read below to learn more. 

Table of Contents

How Government Regulates Water

When it comes to water regulations, State governments regulate areas such as production, prices, and distribution. However, the way water is regulated varies amongst States. For example, California is heavily regulated because of the water supply limitations and the high demand of the agriculture industry. However, in some cases, various municipalities put regulations on water to serve low-income housing communities. 

Water is not particularly easy to distribute to cities and there is a lot of controversy around it. As a result, governments regulate the industry to ensure the utility company properly controls its distribution. Public safety also plays a heavy role in regulation as water utility companies supply communities with clean, potable water.

How Government Regulates Electric Companies

Much like water utility companies, electric utilities are regulated by state and local agencies. Electric utilities govern the prices charged, the terms of services to consumers, budgets, and construction plans. Regulations ensure that fair pricing for service is offered and that service is adequate and responsive to consumer needs. The production and distribution of electricity are also heavily impacted by environmental and public health regulations through the emission of pollutants, land use, and noise. 

The Importance of Staying On Top of Local Government Agendas

In almost every industry, businesses are impacted by local government regulations that can either hinder or support their sector. Utility companies are constantly faced with changing regulations and it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. It’s imperative that these organizations find a way to stay on top of the latest agendas that could have an impact on their industry. 

Let Agenda Discovery Be Your Alert System

With Agenda Discovery’s easy to use legislative tracking tool, anyone can stay on top of local government agendas that could impact their business. Whether they’re in the utility, financial, or medical industry, we’ve made it easy to track policies that matter to any business. By plugging an unlimited amount of keywords, business leaders can feel empowered and secure knowing they have our software on their side. Contact us today to receive a demo!