The Friday Fax

a weekly news bulletin from the National Parent Network on Disabilities
MAY 23, 1997 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Number 44

IDEA Bill to be Signed on June 4th

President Clinton will host a Bill Signing Ceremony to enact IDEA into law in the early afternoon of Wednesday, June 4. NPND has submitted an extensive list of names of parents and students to the White House for this event. Only those who are specifically invited by the White House will be able to attend the ceremony on the South Lawn.

IDEA Documents
Several very useful documents on the new IDEA legislation have been passed on to NPND, including an Summary of the Major Provisions in the Bill Reauthorizing IDEA, an Explanation of Major Changes in Part B, and a Clarification of the Dates IDEA Components become effective. We will work during the following weeks to make these, and other appropriate documents available on the Legislative Updates page of the NPND website.

Thank You to All IDEA Participants
Finally, we want to thank all who were involved in the reauthorization of IDEA, including parents and families, leaders of parent programs, educators & professionals, and members of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities. We especially want to thank the Senators and Congresspersons and their staffs for crafting the bipartisan, bicameral reauthorization. We would be especially remiss if we did not make a huge thank you to David Hoppe, the Chief of Staff for Majority Leader Trent Lott, for his dedication and leadership that pulled the entire process together. Students and their parents all over the country owe each of these people a huge thank you.

Share a Smile Becky Doll Introduced

Mattel Inc. introduced the newest member of the Barbie doll family Wednesday at a news conference in Washington DC on Wednesday. The beautiful Becky doll comes in a bright pink wheelchair, is dressed in fashionable clothes, and has a backpack that can be attached to the wheelchair. NPND and Lekotek were both honored at the event with $10,000 checks for their help in the campaign. Patricia Smith, NPND’s executive director, expressed her appreciation for the gift and the opportunity to be involved with the project. Of the doll she said, “The visual image is worth a million words. It’s a big step through a great big door. Madison Avenue America has recognized that children with disabilities are a part of their whole constituency.” The press has been enormously receptive to the new doll; you may want to notify your local press if you plan to take your child to purchase a Becky doll. They are available at Toys ‘R’ Us stores nationwide.

House Passes Rehab Act

The House overwhelmingly passed HR 1385 on Friday. In contrast to passage of the CAREERS Act almost two years ago, there was little controversy. Congressman McKeon (R-CA) introduced a package of amendments that addressed the areas that were unresolved in subcommittee and committee. These changes included:
* inclusion of changes to Sec. 508 to improve use of assistive technology
* "individual plan for employment" replace "individual written rehabilitation plan"--streamlines the process
* improvements in due process hearings
* added language to promote self -employment and small business development as an employment outcome
* improved language for informed choice

An expected amendment by Congressman Souder (R-IN) to change the definition of “competitive employment" was not made.

The bill reauthorizes the Rehabilitation Act for 3 years. Congressman Goodling (R-PA), Chair of the House Education and the Workforce Committee said that the changes to the Rehabilitation Act were an interim step to allow the 106th Congress to do a more comprehensive review of Rehab programs. The bill now goes to the Senate where we are told they plan to consider separately the job training provisions and the Rehab Act. The Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee plans to take a comprehensive look at the Rehab Act and will probably hold hearings in July or August.

Thanks to excellent work by advocates and NPND staff who worked together to give input regarding the PTI line in the reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act. They were successful in getting the funding for the Rehab-PTIs restored in the final amendments. Special thanks to Louise Thieme (PA) and Martha Ziegler (MA).

Thanks to Tony Young of UCPA and Justice for All for sections of this update.


In a meeting May 22, 1997 with Judy Heumann, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Education for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) told NPND that the Department's goal is to have the regulations for the newly reauthorized IDEA finalized by April 1998. Ms. Heumann explained that the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) was establishing a collaborative process for seeking input regarding the development of the regulations and that she anticipated having NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rule Making) draft regulations completed by the fall for public comment.

In response to how OSEP will proceed in the interim, she stated because the implementation dates of the law differ from section to section, OSEP would respond and expect compliance according to the specifics of the law. For example:
· States would be expected to immediately implement the discipline sections of the law which go into effect immediately upon signing.
· For areas in which the law had not been modified, OSEP would expect States to enforce and utilize existing rules and regulations that do not conflict with the new law.
· States would be informed that OSEP would be seeking letters of assurances regarding the States intention to comply with the newly passed law in the areas where existing regulations do not apply.
· These letters of assurances would allow each state to remain in compliance until July 1, 1998 at which point each state would be expected to have revised their state plan to reflect the new regulations.

During the meeting, NPND clarified that the Board of Directors had moved to establish a Legislative Sub-committee comprised of parent leaders nationwide to specifically review the existing regulations, identify specific areas of concern/approval, and prepare specific sample language in order to provide effective national parental input into this critical process. Ms. Heumann asked Joletta Reynolds and Suzanne Craig to work with NPND in order to facilitate collaborative input from parents across the nation. The Director of OSEP, Tom Hehir, stated that OSEP wants broad input so that the regulations will be right. OSEP will be working with many groups to assure that the regulations most effectively meet the educational needs of students with disabilities. “This is a great opportunity for us to move forward to improve educational results for students with disabilities while preserving and enhancing the rights of all children with disabilities to a Free and Appropriate Public Education,” stated Mr. Hehir.

If you are a member of NPND and would like to share your expertise by serving on the NPND Legislative Sub-Committee, please contact Heather Hebdon, Chairperson at 206- 588-1741 or fax 206-566-8052.

CHILD Act Narrowly Defeated

On Wednesday afternoon, the Senate voted 45 to 55 against adding the bi-partisan Hatch- Kennedy CHILD Act included as an amendment to the budget resolution. However, Senators Hatch and Kennedy said that their proposal would be brought up again, and they predict passage in this Congress. Call Senators who supported the bill to thank them, and express your disappointment to Senators who voted against it.

Republican Senators who voted for the CHILD Act were: Lugar (IN), D'Amato (NY), DeWine (OH), Smith (OR), Specter (PA), Chafee (RI), Hatch (UT), and Jeffords (VT). The Democratic Senators who voted against us were Feinstein (CA), Lieberman (CT), Cleland (GA), Ford (KY), Breaux (LA), Hollings (SC), Kohl (WI), and Robb (VA). All other Republicans voted against the amendment and all other Democrats voted for it.

The following three publications have recently been provided to us by the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs:
· How Title V Programs Can Help Families Deal with the Changes to the Children’s SSI Program
· How State Title V Programs Provide Essential Expertise and Leadership in Outreach to Medicaid Populations
· Children’s Health Insurance: Principles for Increasing Coverage and Promoting Healthy Children

We will work in the following weeks to get these onto our website. You may also call our office for copies.

NPND * 1727 King Street, Suite 305 * Alexandria, VA 22314
(703)684-6763 (V/TDD) * (703)836-1232 (fax) * *