TO: NCIL Members
FROM: The Rehab Act Subcommittee
DATE: June 20, 2005
RE: Reauthorization Update
Before we share with you the results of the latest Congressional activity, the Rehab Act Subcommittee would like to thank you for your assistance and support during this reauthorization. We believe this year’s legislation, if it reaches fruition, may be our most successful effort since the reauthorization in 1992. A lot depends on how successful we are when the House and Senate get together to work out their differences.
Three weeks ago, the Senate HELP Committee passed S. 1021, the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (including Title IV: the Rehabilitation Act), out of Committee. After the bill is passed by the Senate, the Senate and House of Representatives will form a Conference Committee to settle differences between this bill and legislation passed several months ago by the House. Once the bill passes through the Conference Committee, there will be a final vote in both houses and the bill will then be sent to the President for his signature.
NCIL members should be exceedingly proud of the changes we have been able to make to the law. The following are a few of the most significant changes.
1) Carryover- Centers may now carry over Part C funds not expended during the first year received to a second year.
2) Chairperson of the SILC – Both the Senate and House bills confirm that the Council shall select a chairperson from among the voting membership of the Council. The exception for governors who lack veto authority has been removed.
3) Prior to this year, centers that received Part C funding did not need to re-compete for their grants if they received one prior to the first year of the reauthorization. Now, centers receiving Part C funds are grandfathered into the system if they received funds “the previous year” (assuming they meet the standards and assurances).
4) Perhaps the most significant change for our nationwide network of centers during this reauthorization is our formula change. The legislation put forward two years ago under the leadership of Senator Bennett and Congressman Simpson has been integrated into the reauthorization bill. In the future, every new dollar that goes into Part C will be shared among all of the states and territories.
5) Just prior to passing the bill out of Committee, the Senate took
several steps to address transitioning youth who have completed individualized
education programs. Although there are three changes in Title VII,
centers should not feel that they have been singled out because there
are references to transitioning youth throughout the Workforce Investment
Act. Here is how we were affected:
a) The fifth core service will be amended to add facilitating ‘the transition of youth who have completed individualized education programs’ to our deinstitutionalization core service. Although NCIL expressed concern about additional resources needed to provide these services, it was generally agreed that most centers are already providing them—or believed that they should. Rather than resisting this additional change and risk undermining what has been a highly successful reauthorization, NCIL will be working with Congress to come up with a simple title for the fifth core service that will encompass “promoting full access to community life.”
b) The State Plan for Independent Living must address the new core service, as well, in a section called Promoting full access to community life. In addition to deinstitutionalization, the SILC will now report the state’s progress transitioning youth from school to work and encouraging home ownership.
c) An eighth standard called “Promoting full access to community life” has been added to the standards and assurances for centers for independent living. This standard includes a reference to people targeted for institutions or trying to get out of them, students who are transitioning out of schools, and people considering home ownership.
6) At the last minute, we were able to convince Senate staff to add
protections for SILCs which specifically authorize them to:
a) provide advice and assistance to the designated State unit regarding the performance of its responsibilities under this title;
b) facilitate the improvement and coordination of services provided to individuals with disabilities by centers for independent living, the designated State unit, other government agencies, and community organizations;
c) conduct resource development activities to obtain funding from public and private sources to support the activities described in this subsection or to support the provision of independent living services by centers for independent living; and
d) perform such other functions, consistent with the purpose of this chapter and comparable to other functions described in this subsection, as the Council determines to be appropriate.’’
As noted above, these are the amendments in the Senate bill. We believe the item most likely to be challenged in the Conference Committee is the formula change (#5). NCIL will be preparing talking points for you to use in your discussions with your Congressional delegation.
Again, thanks for your help. If you have any questions regarding
the above information, please do not hesitate to contact Bob Michaels,
Chair of the Rehab Act Subcommittee, at firstname.lastname@example.org.