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Legislative Announcements Listed in Past Issues

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President Bush Signs New Assistive Technology Act of 2004
http://thomas.loc.gov/
The new Assistive Technology Act of 2004 that President Bush signed into law on October 25, 2004 makes several changes to the previous Act, including authorizing additional resources so each state will receive $410,000 minimum for the state program and $50,000 minimum for protection and advocacy services. The Act also aligns more closely with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Olmstead decision by requiring states to focus on students with disabilities receiving transition services as well as adults with disabilities maintaining or transitioning to community living. In search field enter: H.R. 4278.

Executive Order - Individuals with Disabilities in Emergency Preparedness
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/07/20040722-10.html
With the Executive Order, "Individuals with Disabilities in Emergency Preparedness," the President is making government agencies responsible for taking into account agency employees and customers with disabilities in their emergency preparedness planning. The order also calls for facilitating cooperation among government entities in the implementation of emergency preparedness plans as they relate to individuals with disabilities. Available in PDF (4 pages).

Health and Human Services Identifies States for Demonstration of New, Less Restrictive Homebound Definition
http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2004pres/20040603.html
On June 3, 2004, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced that Medicare will conduct a demonstration project involving a new definition of “homebound” in three states: MO, MA, and CO. Current rules used to determine who qualifies for Medicare payment of services at home require that any time away from home must be “infrequent or of short duration.” The demonstration project removes a limitation based on actual time spent away from home, eliminating the concern among many homebound persons that they will lose their home-based care benefits if they attempt to take advantage of activities outside the home.

New Staff Member at the White House
Tracy R. Justesen recently joined the White House staff as Associate Director for the Domestic Policy Council. He will handle the President’s New Freedom Initiative and issues important to individuals with disabilities. He comes to the White House after serving as an attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, a technical advisor to the President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education, and President and Chief Executive Officer of one of the nation’s premier centers for independent living. He may be reached by e-mail at TJustesen@opd.eop.gov.

Parental Involvement: Title 1, Part A
http://www.ed.gov/programs/titleiparta/parentinvguid.pdf
On April 29, 2004, the Education Department issued non-regulatory guidance to assist State Education Agencies (SEAs), Local Education Agencies (LEAs), and schools in administering the parental involvement provisions of Title I, Part A of the No Child Left Behind Act. This guide answers questions about and clarifies aspects of the law that have been brought to the attention of the U.S. Department of Education. Available in PDF (61 pp.).

President Bush Nominates John H. Hager for Assistant Secretary of Education for OSERS
http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2004/06/06022004.html
President Bush has nominated former Virginia Lt. Gov. John H. Hager to be assistant secretary of education for special education and rehabilitative services, U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige has announced. Press release dated June 2, 2004.

Department Awards $34.6 Million Contract to Develop and Operate World's Largest Education Database
http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2004/03/03182004.html
The U.S. Department of Education awarded a 5-year, $34.6 million contract to Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) of Rockville, MD, along with its subcontractors, to develop and operate a new database system for the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC).

New Initiative: Teachers to Listen, Learn, Share Practices to Improve Student Achievement
http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2004/04/04212004.html
U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige recently announced a new initiative to engage some of the nation’s best teachers and education experts in sharing techniques for raising student achievement with other teachers from across the country. The Teacher-to-Teacher Initiative will also keep teachers informed of the latest strategies and research on educational practices that work. The Initiative will feature teacher roundtables, summer workshops, a research-to-practice summit, and teacher e-mail updates.

Medicaid Infrastructure Grants
http://www.cms.hhs.gov/TWWIA/downloads/2004migcontinuation.pdf
On March 2, HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced the award of $15.7 million in grants to 28 states and the District of Columbia to help people with disabilities find and keep work without losing their health benefits. The grants advance the goals of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999, a law passed by Congress to encourage people with disabilities to work without fear of losing their eligibility under Medicare, Medicaid, or similar health benefits. The grant program will achieve this goal by providing money to states to develop and implement the core elements of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999, so as to successfully modify their health care delivery systems to meet the needs of people with disabilities who want to work.

New Freedom Initiative Award Nominations Open
http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/opa/OPA2004315.htm
U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao has opened nominations for the New Freedom Initiative Award. This award will recognize nonprofits, small businesses, corporations, and people who have demonstrated exemplary and innovative efforts in furthering the employment of and improving the workplace environment for people with disabilities. Nominations are due May 21.

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