Federal News Roundup
A fortuitous meeting between a California Congressman and the chairman of Apple Computer has resulted in a bill that could, if enacted, provide school districts with millions of dollars' worth of free computer hardware and other technical equipment, while also giving the manufacturers of the equipment a substantial tax break.
H.R. 5573, the "Technology Education Act of 1982," was introduced recently by Representative Fortney H. (Pete) Stark, Democrat of California. The bill, Representative Stark said, was inspired by a chance conversation he had on an airplane with Steven P. Jobs, the chairman of Apple Computer. The two agreed that the U.S. needs new ideas on how to improve high-technology education, according to a statement by the Congressman.
The legislation would "amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 to encourage contributions of computers and other sophisticated technological equipment to elementary and secondary schools." The amendment would allow manufacturers, for one year, to deduct contributions to elementary and secondary schools using the same formula that they may use when donating such equipment to universities: "basis plus one-half appreciation."
The deduction for donations to universities was made available through the Economic Recovery Act of 1981. Under that legislation, the "basis" is defined as the cost of materials and labor; the "appreciation" means the amount for which the equipment could be sold.
Although both parties would benefit from the legislation, the net value would be greater for the schools, according to an aide to Representative Stark. And although the legislation would decrease federal tax revenue, "the return to the public sector would be four or five times the revenue loss," the Congressman said. The bill has been sent to the House Ways and Means Committee.
In order to clear up some of the confusion surrounding the new federal block-grants regulations, the Education Department has invited education officials from all states and territories to a block-grants conference in Washington March 28-30.
Federal education officials at the meeting will attempt "to acquaint state officials with the regulations and to discuss the procedures for administering the Chapter II programs," said Gary Stember, an em-ployee of the office of elementary and secondary education who is the conference chairman. Chapter II is the legal name for the new federal block-grants program, which was enacted by the Education Consolidation and Improvement Act of 1981.
Speakers at the workshop will include Monica E. Harrison, acting assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education; Jean Benish, deputy assistant secretary of that office; and Shirley Jackson, acting director of educational support programs.
In addition to state and territorial officials, the department has invited representatives from private-school groups, local school districts, and education associations, Mr. Stember said.
The U.S. Supreme Court last week upheld a town ordinance restricting the sale of such drug paraphernalia as rolling papers and pipes used in smoking marijuana.
The law, enacted in 1978 by the town of Hoffman Estates, Ill., bars the sale of drug accessories to minors and requires adult purchasers to sign a roster that is subject to inspection by police. The constitutionality of the law was challenged by Flip Side, a local record shop.
The Court, in an 8-0 ruling, reversed an appellate-court decision that had found the law unconstitutionally vague.
Twenty-one states and dozens of local jurisdictions around the country have similar laws.
The case is Village of Hoffman Estates v. Flip Side.