The Congress is set to consider legislation that would prohibit federal judges from ordering hikes in local taxes--and possibly reverse a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing such a tax increase for desegregation in the Kansas City, Mo., public schools.
The April 18 ruling held that District Court Judge Russell Clark had the authority to order the school district to raise taxes to fund a court-ordered desegregation plan. (See Education Week, April 25, 1990.)
Legislation restricting this judicial power is pending in both the House and Senate, as is a proposed Constitutional amendment with the same intent. All have drawn significant numbers of cosponsors.
Senator John C. Danforth, a Missouri Republican who sponsored the proposed amendment, sought support for the idea April 30 by offering a "sense of the Senate" resolution as an amendment to a supplemental spending bill that was later approved.
Mr. Danforth withdrew the amendment, which would have put the Senate on record as opposing federal judicial power to order state and local governments to levy taxes.
But he exacted promises from Senators Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Paul Simon, the chairmen of the Judiciary Committee and its Subcommittee on the Constitution, that they would take up the issue soon. A hearing is scheduled for June 19.
Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico is expected to fill the Labor and Human Resources Committee seat vacated by the death of Senator Spark M. Matsunaga.
The Democratic Steering Committee has recommended Mr. Bingaman for the post, a decision that is likely to be ratified by the full Senate Democratic Caucus.
Mr. Bingaman, who was elected to the Senate in 1982, has shown a new interest in education issues this year, using his chairmanship of a Governmental Affairs subcommittee to hold hearings on educational-data collection.
He has proposed a study of a longer school day and school year and creation of a panel to set and measure national education goals.
Children who work--particularly those who work long hours--earn lower grades, do less homework, and miss school more often than do their nonworking peers, witnesses told a Senate panel last week.
Some 60 percent of high-school seniors "are jeopardizing their educational future and the future of this nation's ability to be competitive," said David S. Liedermann, executive director of the Child Welfare League of America, citing a Harvard University study that found that three out of five seniors worked more than 20 hours a week.
He and other witnesses emphasized the educational effects of child labor at a joint hearing of the Senate Subcommittees on Labor and Children, Family, Drugs and Alcoholism.
The panels are considering a bill to require that the names of employers who violate child-labor laws be posted in schools. It would also increase penalties for violations and expand the list of hazardous occupations from which children are restricted.