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Legislative Announcements Listed in Past Issues

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Paige Releases Principles for Reauthorizing Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige unveiled a set of principles to guide the Education Department in its work toward seeking reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the landmark statute that provides for the education of America's 6.5 million students with disabilities.

Statement of Assistant Secretary Robert Pasternack on Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants
The Administration is requesting $2.7 billion for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) State Grants to assist State VR agencies to increase the participation of individuals with disabilities in meaningful, competitive, integrated employment. The request includes an increase in funding that satisfies the statutory requirement to increase funding by at least the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index.

President's Budget Request for Education Department
President Bush's budget request for fiscal year 2004 provides $53.1 billion for the U.S. Department of Education, an increase of $2.8 billion or 5.6% above his 2003 spending plan and the largest dollar increase of any domestic agency. View the archived web cast, budget summary, and more.

U.S. Department of Education Issues Final Regulations for No Child Left Behind Act
On November 26, 2002, U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige released final regulations for the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The draft regulations were published in the Federal Register on August 6, 2002, followed by a 30-day public comment period. The new law authorizes the Title I Program, a $10.4 billion federal education program that aims to close the achievement gap between disadvantaged children and their peers by supporting schools, in providing extra help to more than 14 million disadvantaged children.

White House Task Force for Disadvantaged Youth
The White House has established a Task Force for Disadvantaged Youth to produce a comprehensive report on the problems of youth failure, with a focus on enhanced agency accountability and effectiveness. For the full memorandum:

Secretary Thompson Announces Creation of the HHS Office on Disability
Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced the creation of the HHS Office on Disability to oversee the coordination, development, and implementation of programs and special initiatives within HHS that impact people with disabilities. Press release online.

U.S. Senate Subcommittee Restores Supported Employment Funding
The U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education recommended that the Projects with Industry Program and the Supported Employment Program, which were recommended by the Administration to be consolidated into Title I, maintain their individualized funding at the 2002 levels, and not be consolidated into Title I. The level funding recommended for the Supported Employment Program was $38,152,000. The House Appropriations Subcommittee has yet to act on the bill, which because of time constraints, may not occur until the fall.

Progress Report on Fulfilling America's Promise to Americans with Disabilities
The New Freedom Initiative is the President's comprehensive plan to reduce barriers to full community integration for people with disabilities. This report provides an overview of the administration's accomplishments through the first year of the New Freedom Initiative and provides a look at some of the next steps to come, including a number of commitments from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Supreme Court Issues Ruling on Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in US Airways v. Barnett
In an April 2002 ruling the U.S. Supreme Court narrowed the reach of the ADA in the context of employment. The case, U.S. Airways v. Barnett, demonstrates that employees with disabilities are not always entitled to premium assignments intended for more senior workers. The high court found that although the Act forbids job discrimination against people with disabilities and requires employers to offer reasonable accommodations, there are "special circumstances" that make exceptions reasonable.

New Freedom Initiative Reports
As part of the New Freedom Initiative, the President issued Executive Order 13217, "Community-Based Alternatives for Individuals with Disabilities," on June 18, 2001. This order directed six federal agencies, including the departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, Education, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, and the Social Security Administration, to evaluate their policies, programs, statutes, and regulations to determine whether they should be modified to improve the availability of community-based services for individuals with disabilities. The progress reports for each of these agencies are now available online.

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