The Friday Fax

a weekly news bulletin from the National Parent Network on Disabilities
June 27, 1997 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Number 49

Legislative Updates

IDEA Reauthorization
518 legislators voted for the passage of Public Law 105-17, the IDEA Improvement Act of 1997. Please don’t forget to thank your legislator for their support and good work. Parents may also want to write to their local newspapers to thank the legislators publicly. This is a great way to have positive press regarding the success of children in special education classrooms.

Child Health Insurance
This week the Senate was to consider the reconciliation spending package as part of the budget agreement reached between the President and Congress. On Thursday June 19 the Senate Finance committee reported its children’s health provision which calls for spending $24 billion ($16 billion which was included in the budget agreement and an additional $8 billion which the committee allocated from $16 billion it generated from a 20 cent increase in the tobacco tax) over 5 years for uninsured children.

The Finance Committee rejected an amendment offered by Senators Chafee (R- RI) and Rockefeller (D-WV) which would have spent a substantial portion of the money on Medicaid incentives for states to cover more uninsured children by raising eligibility levels. The Committee also blocked an attempt to attach the Hatch-Kennedy CHILD Act to the budget bill. Instead the Committee passed provisions which give states a choice between Medicaid and a block grant to provide insurance for children. States are most likely to choose the block grant option. In order to ensure that this money provides real coverage for uninsured children we need your help in improving the Child Health Block Grant in three very important ways: Please contact your U.S. Senators today. Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202/224-3121. Ask your Senators to help insure all 10 million uninsured children in America and to improve the Child Health Block Grant by including these critical components: (a) the benefit package must be comprehensive and geared to the needs of children (b) cost-sharing protections must be included and (c) current Medicaid eligibility standards must be maintained.

This Update provided by CDF

Children’s Tax Credit
The House Ways and Means Committee approved a tax cut plan last week that leaves out 28 million children (40 percent of all U.S. children.) Virtually all children in families earning less than $20 000 a year would receive no benefit at all from the children's tax credit in the plan and many in families earning up to $30 000 would receive little or none of the $500 credit because they also qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Care Credit. The Senate Finance Committee has made a modest improvement but still denies some or all of the credit to millions of families with children that are paying payroll and/or income taxes. The House is now likely to improve the bill for families with child care costs but still leaves out millions of low income working families.

The tax cuts coming to the House and Senate floors do help the wealthy —the cuts in the capital gains tax will overwhelmingly help the top 5 percent of taxpayers with incomes over $100K who have 75 percent of all capital gains income. These tax breaks are the gifts that keep on giving. While costing $85 billion in the first five years by 2017 the revenue loss explodes—to $650 - $750 billion.

Tell your Representative and Senators to make the children's tax credit cover low income working families with child care costs who pay payroll and/or income taxes and to vote against any tax breaks calculated to blow a gaping hole in the budget for decades to come.

This Update provided by CDF.

Juvenile Justice
The biggest overhaul of juvenile justice legislation since the 1970s is moving rapidly through Congress: (1) H.R. 3 already passed the House and would provide $500 million a year to states to punish children including trying them in adult courts and not a penny for prevention. (2) H.R. 1818 has been reported out of committee for a floor vote and would weaken the mandates of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act that protect children from unjust incarceration (e.g. for running away or skipping school) and incarceration with adults. (3) S.10 is scheduled to be marked-up this week in Senate Judiciary Committee and would also weaken the protections of children from adult jails and prisons and would provide inadequate unspecified investments in prevention.

All three bills are silent on children's access to guns even though gun crime is the only type of juvenile crime that has risen in the past decade. Ultimately these three bills will likely be combined into one comprehensive youth violence bill. Call your Senators (U.S. Capitol Switchboard #202/224-3121) this week and tell them:(1) Don't try children as adults --children come out of the adult system more likely to commit crime again. (2)Don't house children with adults -- children in adult facilities are much more likely to be physically and sexually assaulted and to attempt suicide. (3) Invest at least as much on prevention as on corrections -- each new juvenile detention bed costs $102 000 compared to the modest cost of after-school centers and mentors that prevent crime before it occurs. (4) Reduce children's access to guns -- these bills should support gun tracing initiatives to identify those who illegally provide guns to children and child-safety locks to prevent child gun deaths in the home.

This Update provided by CDF.

There is a Legislative Recess scheduled from June 27 until July 7. This is a great time to visit with your Senators and Congresspersons in their home district. Contact them today to make appointments, and let them know how you feel about legislative issues.

Job Opening at NPND

NPND bids a fond farewell to Emily McWhorter, who is leaving her position as Program Coordinator to return to graduate study. We wish her all the best.

In seeking her replacement, we are looking for an applicant with at least a Bachelor’s degree, office experience, and strong organization, writing, and communication skills. The successful applicant will also have significant computer and internet knowledge, and be knowledgeable about health systems and issues, and parent and family issues. For further information regarding this position, contact Patricia Smith at 703-684-6763.

To express interest in this position, forward a letter of interest and a resume to: NPND; 1727 King Street, Suite 305; Alexandria, VA 22314; Or Fax to: NPND—703-836-1232

Due to the Independence Day Holiday, there will be no Friday Fax next week. Have a safe and happy 4th!

IDEA Calls

The Legislative subcommittee of NPND under the leadership of Heather Hebdon has been gathering input on the regulations for IDEA. Three calls have been completed with approximately 45 participants dialing in on 25 lines. Two more calls are scheduled for next week. If you were unable to make the calls, and want your ideas to be included, send your input to Heather Hebdon at 10209 Bridgeport Way, SW, Suite A5; Lakewood Center, WA 98499, or fax to 206-984-7520, or e-mail to

OSERS Outreach for IDEA Regulations

In a letter, Judy Heumann and Tom Hehir stated, “The office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) is committed to an inclusive process as we begin to implement IDEA 97. As a first step we have planned a series of outreach meetings to provide the opportunity for broad input into our process. We invite you to attend one of those meetings to tell us what you think we should consider regarding regulations and other aspects of implementation of the law.” Meetings are scheduled for July 14, 15, and 16, with a conference call also planned for the 16th, from 2-4pm EDT. To register for the conference call, fax a copy of your comments about IDEA implementation along with your name, organization, and phone number to Libby Doggett at 202-401- 1971. If you have any questions, you can reach Libby Doggett at 202- 205-5507.

Important SSI Information

Parents who receive notification from the SSI office should file an appeal within 10 days.

For more information, contact Jonathan Stein of Community Legal Services at 215-981-3742.

ABA Launches Campaign to Identify Disability Lawyers

The American Bar Association’s Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law is gathering names and addresses of lawyers who have disabilities and/or who practice disability law. This effort marks the first time any national organization has tried to systematically identify the nation’s disability lawyers. The information collected will be used to : 1)form a disability lawyer database, 2) create a Website for lawyers with disabilities; and 3) publish a directory of disability law practitioners. For more information about this data collection effort, or to contribute information, contact the ABA Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law, 740 15th St., NW, Washington, DC 20005; phone: 202- 662-1570, fax: 202-662-1032, TTY: 202-662-1012, e-mail

This information from an ABA press release.

Restaurant Chain to Be More Accessible

The Friendly Ice Cream Corporation, one of the nation’s largest family restaurant Chains, will make its 704 restaurants more accessible to diners with disabilities under a settlement reached May 19 with the Justice Department. The agreement, filed in US District Court in Boston, affects more restaurants than any other agreement the Justice Department has ever reached under the Americans with Disabilities Act. It sets out the steps the company will take to ensure that patrons with disabilities will have full access to Friendly’s restaurants across the country.

This information is from a Department of Justice press release.

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