Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tuesday Quick Hits: Hot Topics in Policy This Week.

Note: Due to the Veteran's Day Holiday on Monday, Monday Quick Hits was delayed a day. We hope you enjoyed your time off and reflected on the brave men and women who served and serve our nation.

North Carolina:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Dropout Prevention and High School Graduation Joint Legislative Commission.
Dropout Prevention was a hot topic during the long session. Speaker of the House Joe Hackney has been holding a series of public meetings to receive input on the dropout rates in our schools. A few of the things this committee will be doing are: looking at programs designed to reduce the drop out, review and research factors related to students success in school, evaluate grants for dropout prevention programs and review courses required for graduation.

Thursday, November 15, 2007
Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse.
The meeting this week will look at the reduction in State hospital utilization pilot, a community support service update, and revised Dorothea Dix and John Umstead Hospitals closure plan.

FY 2008 Continuing Resolution
Since none of the twelve FY appropriations bills have been signed into law, the federal government is now operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR) that expires on November 16. A new CR has been added to the emergency war spending bill. This CR would last until December 14. The CRs maintain FY 2007 funding levels for all programs.

FY 2008 Appropriations
The House and Senate are expected to vote on the conference report on the FY 2008 appropriations bill for the Departments of Transportation and HUD. A veto threat also hangs over this bill. The bill includes $9.65 billion for the Federal Transit Administration, which is $640 million above FY 2007 levels. The New Freedom Program for people with disabilities and the Section 5310 funding for programs serving people with disabilities and the elderly would also receive their fully authorized level of funding ($127 million for Section 5310 and $87.5 million for New Freedom).

Higher Education
The House Education and Labor Committee is scheduled to mark up its version of the Higher Education Act reauthorization on November 14. The College Affordability and Opportunity Act contains provisions that will help students with disabilities access higher education.

ADA Restoration
The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, chaired by Senator Kennedy (D-MA), will hold a hearing on November 15 to discuss the original intent of the ADA. Prior to the hearing, a rally is scheduled at the U.S. Capitol and National Mall hosted by the Road to Freedom. The Road to Freedom, a project of ADA Watch and the National Coalition for Disability Rights (NCDR), is finishing a 50-state bus tour promoting the civil rights of people with disabilities and the passage of the ADA Restoration Act. Additional information on the hearing, including how to view the hearing online, is available at: http://help.senate.gov/Hearings/2007_11_15_b/2007_09_15_b.html

On November 14, the Permanent Investigations Subcommittee, chaired by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on Medicaid service providers. The focus of the hearing will be a recent study conducted by the Government Accountability Office on unpaid taxes, the extent of the problem, and possible solutions.

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