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House Backs Juvenile-Justice Measure

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WASHINGTON--The House last week approved legislation to reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Act, after adding a provision requiring state and community agencies funded under the law to adopt drug-free-workplace policies.

Representative Robert S. Walker, Republican of Pennsylvania, had proposed an amendment that would have specified how recipients were to enforce such policies; required employees to sign pledges not to use drugs; and mandated a cutoff of federal aid if an employee were convicted of an on-the-job drug offense.

But, with Mr. Walker's acquiescence, the House approved a substitute offered by Representative Dale E. Kildee, Democrat of Michigan. Mr. Kildee's amendment, which was approved unanimously, simply requires applicants for funding to certify that they will administer anti-drug policies "in good faith.'' It gives the Justice Department discretion in how to enforce the provision.

Mr. Walker has succeeded in attaching drug-free-workplace language to a growing list of bills, and has promised attempts to add it to every appropriations or authorization bill that comes up this term. (See Education Week, May 25, 1988.)

The juvenile-justice bill, HR 1801, which was approved by a vote of 377 to 5, would reauthorize the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act and the Missing Children's Assistance Act, as well as the J.J.D.A.

The legislation would increase funding for state efforts to remove youthful offenders from adult jails and rehabilitate them; strengthen reporting requirements; and earmark some funding for aid to homeless youths and for efforts to address the problems caused by youth gangs.

It would also extend law-related education programs in public schools to settings such as correctional institutions. And it would direct the Justice Department to investigate why minority teen-agers are more likely to be jailed than whites.

The Senate has not yet acted on companion legislation.--J.M.

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