U.S. Senate Passes IDEA Reauthorization Legislation On May 13, the U.S. Senate debated and passed its version of the IDEA Reauthorization bill (S. 1248) by a vote of 95-3. The bill had been languishing on the Senate schedule since November 2003, when it was reported out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. ... Policy Analysis
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Policy Analysis  |   June 01, 2004
U.S. Senate Passes IDEA Reauthorization Legislation
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Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / Policy Analysis
Policy Analysis   |   June 01, 2004
U.S. Senate Passes IDEA Reauthorization Legislation
The ASHA Leader, June 2004, Vol. 9, 3-14. doi:10.1044/leader.PA.09112004.3
The ASHA Leader, June 2004, Vol. 9, 3-14. doi:10.1044/leader.PA.09112004.3
On May 13, the U.S. Senate debated and passed its version of the IDEA Reauthorization bill (S. 1248) by a vote of 95-3. The bill had been languishing on the Senate schedule since November 2003, when it was reported out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee.
The Senate will now enter into a conference with the U.S. House of Representatives to work out the differences between the two versions of the legislation. Since differences exist in provisions related to personnel standards, ASHA members can expect that highly qualified special education teachers and standards for related services providers will be among the main issues discussed by the conference committee.
Sens. Judd Gregg (R-NH) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA) offered a managers’ amendment containing technical changes to S. 1248. The following floor amendments were approved and included in the final passage of the legislation:
  • Specific funding authorization levels (non-binding) for IDEA Part B state grants by Sen. Gregg were agreed to by a vote of 96-1. An amendment calling for mandatory full funding within six years by Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE) was rejected by the Senate 56-41, falling five votes short of the two-thirds needed to waive Senate budget rules.

  • A study to include the Department of Education in the National Children’s Study on the relationship between environmental factors and developmental disabilities by Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY). The study requires a consortium of government agencies to study the environmental effects on children’s health and development.

  • Capping the amount of fees that attorneys can receive from schools for due process cases that are considered “frivolous,” by Sen. Gregg.

  • The requirement that an IEP follow transient students, including children who transfer between districts, are homeless, are in foster care, or are children of military personnel, by Sens. Patti Murray (D-WA) and Mike DeWine (R-OH).

  • A paperwork reduction demonstration project in up to 15 states by Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) that prohibits waiving or eliminating paperwork designed to preserve and protect students’ and families’ civil rights.

The House and Senate chambers must sign on to the conference agreement before legislation goes to the president for his signature. President Bush is expected to welcome the opportunity to sign this bill into law prior to the beginning of the 2004–2005 school year and the November presidential election.
ASHA members are encouraged to contact their representatives and senators to continue the pressure to retain the “highest qualified provider” language from current law by going to the ASHA Take Action Center. To read more about S.1 248, H.R. 1350 or other bills noted above, please go to the U.S. Library of Congress’ Thomas legislative information Web site. For more information or questions about the IDEA reauthorization, please contact Neil Snyder by e-mail at nsnyder@asha.org or by phone at 800-498-2071 ext. 4257.
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FROM THIS ISSUE
June 2004
Volume 9, Issue 11