June 9, 2000  

No. 190

Family Opportunity Act Update

KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK! All of our hard work (phone calls and letters) is paying off. Each week we are adding more co-sponsors thanks to your stories. We are sending the message to Congress on the importance of this legislation that will help families of children with disabilities and special health care needs to access needed Medicaid services (Health Care for our children). We will not stop until we urge all of our Senators to co-sponsor this family friendly legislation. Access the NPND website for the summary and full text of this legislation.


Our Senators need to know how important this act will be to families caring for a child with a disability.

  • Contact your Senator and urge their support for
     S. 2274

  • Please write a short letter telling your Senator "Why your family needs Medicaid?" We especially need the support of the following Senators:

 (T Stevens, AK; F Murkowski, AK; J McCain, AZ;
W Allard, CO; C. Mack, FL; P. Coverdell, GA; M Crapo, ID; S Abraham, MI; R Grams, MN; J Ashcroft, MO; C
Hagel, NE; M. Dewine, OH; G Smith, OR; R. Santorum, PA; A Specter, PA; W. Frist, TN; F. Thompson, TN; K Hutchison, TX; R Bennett, UT; J Warner, VA; S. Gorton, WA).

  • Send your letters to NPND (see contact information below) and we will deliver the letters personally to each Senator's office.

WRITE AND CALL IF...You are unable to better your income because you would lose your child's Medicaid. You have been told  that you don't qualify for the Medicaid that your child needs to fill in the gaps of an employee health plan. All you need is Medicaid to help you keep your child at home with you.


Please co-sponsor S. 2274, the Family Opportunity Act. As a parent of a special needs child, I know first hand the challenges of caring for a child with disabilities and special health care needs. We are asking for your help. We need improved access to special health care services. This bill would allow us, as parents, to pay a premium for necessary Medicaid services for our child.

www.senate.gov   / U.S. Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121

Teleconference with Senators Kennedy/Grassley

Senators Grassley and Kennedy, co-sponsors of the Family Opportunity Act, have said they want to hear from you on the importance and need of this piece of legislation. NPND and friends will host a teleconference to allow you to share with the Senators. NPND is still working on the logistics of this call and will share more details as they become available.


Threats on Cessation of Services Still Alive-
Ashcroft Amendment

Disability advocates are concerned about an amendment to the discipline section of IDEA that includes cessation of services offered by Senator John Ashcroft (R-MO). We must act quickly to let Senator Ashcroft, as well as our own Senators, know that we oppose any amendments to IDEA.

Ashcroft Amendment "To amend IDEA and the Gun- Free Schools Act of 1994 to allow school personnel to apply appropriate discipline measures to all students in cases involving weapons, illegal drugs, and assaults upon teachers, and for other purposes...school personnel may discipline (including expel or suspend) a child with a disability in the same manner in which each personnel may discipline a child without a disability..." Access the NPND website for the full text of this Amendment.

Kathleen Boundy, Co-Director of the Center for Law and Education (CLE), wrote a letter to Senators Kennedy and Harkin asking for support for "no cessation of services." Below are excerpts of her letter. Access the NPND website or the Center's website (www.cleweb.org) for the full text.

"On behalf of students with disabilities, including those who may have behavioral manifestations, the CLE urges you to continue to support the "no cessation" of education principle originally adopted by P.L. 94-142 in 1975, and more recently incorporated in the reauthorized   IDEA Amendments in 1997. This core principle of P.L. 94-142 must not be compromised, but protected and preserved. Reaffirmed by bipartisan agreement following an especially contentious reauthorization process, it is essential to all efforts to move forward with the promise of full implementation of the 1975 Act, as reaffirmed by the Amendments of 1997, ensuring full participation in the general education curriculum to the maximum extent appropriate for all students with disabilities...While CLE urges you to oppose the Ashcroft Amendment to S.2 and any other similar attempts to amend IDEA - whether through S. 254, the pending Juvenile Justice bill or new legislation, specifically, we ask that there be no compromise in the face of such amendments. There is no room for compromise on this matter, for any compromise will eliminate the "no cessation" provision of the IDEA. This is a matter of basic civil rights..."


  • Contact Senator Ashcroft, as well as your Senators, and tell them that we oppose any amendments to IDEA.

  • Contact NPND when you have spoken with or written to your Senators. Send NPND copies of correspondences and we will deliver it personally  to the Senator's office. (see contact information below). Together we will let our voices be heard.


www.senate.gov  / US Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121

Ashcroft: Phone-202-224-6154; Fax-202-228-0998;


NPND * 1130 17th Street, NW * Suite 400 * Washington, DC 20036
(202) 463-2299 * (202) 463-9403 * pmcglsmith@aol.com * http://www.npnd.org