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Congress Approves Desert Storm Bills

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The Congress has given final approval to legislation providing $50 million for education, support services, and child care to the families of military personnel who served in Operation Desert Storm.

Two bills await President Bush's signature: one authorizes the expenditures, and the other provides the funds.

The spending bill also includes a provision allowing the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to spend $5 million that was appropriated for it last year. (See Education Week, March 27, 1991.)

Under the authorizing measure, the Defense Department is to determine which areas receive family and education services.

The bill also recommends that the Pentagon develop a uniform policy that would prevent deployment of military women with children under the age of 6 months if it caused them to be separated. The original House bill would have mandated such a policy, and also included single male military parents.

The federal law barring discrimination in employment does not apply to United States citizens who work overseas, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week.

In a 6 to 3 decision, the Court upheld lower-court rulings that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not affect U.S. firms that operate abroad. The case was eeoc v. Arabian American Oil4Co. (Case No. 89-1838).

In other action last week, the Court declined to review:

McSherry v. Block (No. 90-6193), in which lower federal courts upheld a California law that allows police to arrest persons loitering near schools. A man who was convicted under the law argued that police should have first asked him to leave the vicinity of the school before they arrested him.

Cordrey v. Euckert (No. 90-1248). Federal district and appeals courts ruled that an Ohio school district did not have to provide services during the summer to a handicapped boy.

Williamson v. Abilene School District (No. 90-1214). Lower courts dismissed a suit filed by an Abilene, Tex., teacher against her school district and union local after she was reassigned and told that her contract would not be to renewed.

Senator Paul Simon, Democrat of Illinois, told educators in Chicago last week that members of the Congress are considering whether to impose a new tax on oil in order to finance increases in federal student aid.

During a field hearing on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, Senator Simon described the tax-increase proposal an "iffy" idea that was still being "kicked around" by the Congress.

The $9.5 billion in new renevue that would be raised annually from a $5-a-barrel tax on imported oil would help increase the size of the basic Pell Grant award, the Senator said.

The new funds might even be sufficient to make the financial-aid program an entitlement, said Senator Simon, a key member of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee.

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