Federal News Roundup
Three months to the day after it began, the Republican-led filibuster to a Senate anti-busing amendment was cut off last Wednesday with the measure one step closer to becoming law.
But the bill to which the controversial amendment is attached--a measure to authorize 1982 expenditures for the Justice Department--immediately was put aside indefinitely by the Senate leadership.
By a one-vote margin, the Senate cut off the filibuster that Lowell Weicker of Connecticut had led against the bill. The Senate later voted 60-39 to adopt the amendment.
The rider is sponsored by J. Bennett Johnston, Democrat of Louisiana, and Jesse A. Helms, Republican of North Carolina. The measure would prohibit federal courts from ordering busing, and it would forbid the busing of students beyond a travel time of 30 minutes or a distance of 10 miles from a neighborhood school.
Both Mr. Weicker and Mr. Johnston have claimed victory.
A spokesman for Mr. Weicker said passage of the anti-busing amendment will be prevented by the Senate leadership's decision to put aside the bill.
Mr. Johnston said: "I and others here are determined to see that the Senate works its will on busing. Forced busing has exceeded reasonable limits, and we're going to put some reasonable limits on it."
The Justice Department has refused a request by Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell to exclude school employees from coverage under Title IX, the law that bans sex discrimination in federally financed school programs.
In a brief filed with the Supreme Court, the Justice Department supports a Connecticut guidance counselor's contention that Title IX is applicable in a lawsuit claiming she was denied promotions because of her sex.
Mr. Bell had asked Attorney General William French Smith to limit Title IX enforcement to discrimination against students. But the Justice Department's brief asserts that the law also applies to "those 'subjected to discrimination under' the education programs in which they work."
Secretary Bell, speaking recently to a group of school administrators, also criticized the 1975 Education for All Handicapped Children Act and the office that is charged with enforcing it.
Mr. Bell, whose efforts to have the law repealed this year were unsuccessful, said the Education Department would nonetheless "move more and more toward allocating responsibility to states [and] toward deregulation."
He also referred to the department's Office for Civil Rights as "the federal police that look over your shoulder."
For example, he said, "Trainable mentally retarded children, who can't be educated but can be trained, don't belong with other children in the classroom," although the civil-rights office has said they should be mainstreamed.