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Legislative Announcements Listed in Past Issues

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CADRE Funded for Another 5 Years
CADRE, the Consortium for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education, has successfully won a new cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, which begins October 1, 2003 and will continue through September 30, 2008. Visit their Web site for more information about CADRE.

Presidential Commission Supports Mental Health in Schools
Goal 4 of the 6 identified by President Bush's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health focuses on early delivery of screening, assessment, and referral services for mental health. A key recommendation made for attainment of this goal is what community schools strive to be doing, improving, and expanding mental health programs at schools. Background on the importance of this goal and the recommended steps identified for moving towards this goal is provided.

Social Security Announces 2.1 Percent Benefit Increase for 2004
Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 51 million Americans will increase 2.1 percent in 2004. The Cost-of- Living Adjustment will begin in January 2004, for people who get Social Security benefits and on December 31, 2003, for people who receive SSI benefits.

A Review of the Reauthorization Process in Legislation
The House and Senate have both introduced their respective bills (H.R. 1350 and S. 1248) in regards to the IDEA reauthorization process. The full House has passed its bill. In the Senate, the bill has been passed out of Committee and is awaiting consideration by the full Senate. Once both the full House and Senate have passed their respective bills, a Conference Committee will be appointed to report a final version of the legislation. This final version then goes back to both the House and Senate for a final vote. This will then be the version of the legislation that, once passed, goes to the President for signature and becomes law.

Republicans Weigh in on IDEA
On July 22, 2003, the Senate Republican Policy Committee (RPC) chaired by Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) released a paper entitled "Disabled Children May Be Left Behind if IDEA Law Becomes an Entitlement." This document outlines the RPC's stance on IDEA reauthorization, emphasizing how IDEA may be viewed within the context of the Bush administration's education agenda. Available in PDF (15 pages).

National Council on Disability Says Employment for People with Disabilities Remains Far Too Low
The National Council on Disability (NCD) released an excerpt from its annual report, National Disability Policy: A Progress Report (July 2003), which highlights a number of issues related to the challenges for advancing employment opportunities across the nation for people with disabilities. Congress is currently considering reauthorizing legislation for the Workforce Investment Act, including the Federal Rehabilitation Act. Any successful approach to employment for people with disabilities must ensure that our nation's mainstream labor force development and job placement system has the capacity and the motivation to serve people with disabilities on the same basis as everyone else, and must ensure the availability of specialized resources and technical expertise to assist and to supplement the work of the mainstream system. NCD recommends the reauthorization and includes provisions.

Presidentís New Freedom Commission on Mental Health Submits Final Report
The President's Commission, which was established in 2002, was tasked with conducting a comprehensive study of the U.S. mental health service delivery system. To improve access to quality care and services, the Commission recommends fundamentally transforming how mental health care is delivered in America. Specifically, the Commission states that successfully transforming the mental health service delivery system rests on two principles: services and treatments must be consumer and family centered, geared to give consumers real and meaningful choices about treatment options and care must focus on increasing consumers' ability to successfully cope with life's challenges, on facilitating recovery, and on building resilience, not just on managing symptoms.

The US General Accounting Office Says Federal Actions Can Assist States in Improving Postsecondary Outcomes for Youth
This report from the US General Accounting Office (GAO) examines (1) the proportion of IDEA students completing high school with a diploma or alternative credentials, and their postsecondary status; (2) the transition problems being reported and state and local actions to address them; and (3) the types of transition services provided by the vocational rehabilitation, the Workforce Investment Act youth, and the Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency programs, and the factors affecting participation of IDEA youth. The full report (66 pages) can be found on the GAO Web site in PDF format at NCSET has prepared a brief excerpt of the GAO report that you may wish to share with your colleagues.

Budget Fact Sheets by State
President Bush's 2004 budget boosts education funding to $53.1 billion, the largest dollar increase of any domestic agency and an $11 billion increase since the President took office. This Web site offers highlights of what the President's education budget request means for each state.

Paige Announces $17 Million in Grants to Help States Develop Assessments under NCLB
U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige announced $17 million in new grants to fund projects that will help improve the quality of assessment instruments and systems used by states to measure the achievement of all students, especially students with disabilities and those with limited English proficiency, under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The grants are funded from the U.S. Department of Education's Fiscal Year 2002 budget.

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