The Friday Fax

a weekly news bulletin from the National Parent Network on Disabilities
DECEMBER 13, 1996 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Number 22

New House Leader on IDEA Meets Disability Community

Representative Frank Riggs (R-CA) will assume the Chairmanship of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth and Families of the House Economic and Educational Opportunities Committee in the 105th Congress. In a most unusual action, Rep. Riggs will trade roles with Rep. “Duke” Cunningham (R-CA). Rep. Cunningham gives up his chairmanship on the subcommittee for Rep. Riggs’ slot on the Appropriations Subcommittee. Since the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth and Families has jurisdiction over the reauthorization of IDEA, Rep. Riggs steps into a crucial role. He is a former local school board member and speaks proudly of his previous work in California helping people with disabilities find employment.

Rep. Riggs will begin his Chairmanship in January. Though not yet ratified in his position, Rep. Riggs has already begun to reach out to the education constituencies. He met with NPND leaders and the leadership of the Education Task force of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities on December 10 to discuss his preliminary plans to reauthorize IDEA in the 105th Congress. He hopes to put IDEA on a fast track in the House by introducing his version of IDEA on January 7, the first day of the 105th Congress. He plans to hold two hearings, on February 4 and 6, one dedicated to issues of discipline, disruption and cessation of service. NPND and CCD were invited to testify at that hearing and to provide advice on how the discipline provisions in the new bill should be drafted. Rep. Riggs and the full committee Chairman, Rep. Bill Goodling (R-PA), have scheduled full Committee mark-up of IDEA during the second week of March. Chairman Riggs made it clear that IDEA is number one priority of Chairman Goodling and himself.

In regards to specifics on the bill, he and his staff announced the bill would not include any provisions about cessation of the educational services for students with disabilities who violate school rules on weapons and drugs. CCD views this as an important first step in garnering disability support for the new legislation. Rep Riggs views IDEA as a vital civil rights law protecting the educational rights of students with disabilities and wishes to save those basic rights. However, he also recognizes the need to address the concerns of administrators and educators. He pledged to play a direct role in developing a final bill that can attain support of special education and general education interests.

NPND welcomes a new Executive Board

Elections were held this week for positions on the Executive Board for NPND. Debra Johnson of Idaho Parents Unlimited in Boise, ID will lead the Board as the new president. Newly elected Board member Terri Dawson of Wyoming PIC, in Buffalo, WY, will serve as Vice President, and Janet Vohs of the Federation for Children with Special Needs in Boston, MA, was elected to a second term as Secretary. We thank these members for their willingness to serve, and look forward to their leadership during the coming years. Thanks go also to outgoing Board member Joseph Garcia of Touchstones in Seattle, WA. Finally, special thanks go out to Joanne Butts, of Washington PAVE in Tacoma, WA and Pam Steneberg of DREDF in Berkeley, CA for their service as, respectively, President and Vice President over the past two years.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS Blessings and greetings to all during this festive holiday season

Health Action ‘97:

Organized by Families USA, this national consumer grassroots meeting will be held January 26-28, 1997 in Washington, DC. Health Action ‘97 will link community leaders from diverse constituencies to find ways we can work together to protect consumers. For more information contact Patrice Franklin at 202-628-3030, or
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Late News from the Senate

NPND was notified by Sen. Jim Jeffords on Dec. 12 about his intention to discontinue the Subcommittee on Disability Policy. Health care reform, education and disability policy will be addressed at the full committee level. The first reauthorization hearing before the full committee in 1997 will be on IDEA.
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