Federal News Roundup

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The Senate Subcommittee on the Handicapped last week approved measures to extend for three years the federal laws governing education of the handicapped and vocational-rehabilitation programs.

The measures, which were scheduled for action in the Labor and Human Resources Committee last Friday, would include a new federal program to help handicapped high-school students more easily make the transition from school to college or employment.

The new program would strengthen high-school vocational programs to train handicapped students and develop projects to help handicapped students succeed in college.

The chairman of the subcommittee, Senator Lowell P. Weicker, Republican of Connecticut, said he would seek higher federal appropriations for the $1.1-billion special-education program and the $1-billion rehabilitation program. Mr. Weicker also is chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the programs.

Congressional supporters of Title IX, the federal law barring schools and colleges that receive federal dollars from discriminating on the basis of sex, have introduced measures in the House and Senate calling for stricter enforcement of the statute.

The introduction of the non-binding resolution was triggered by recent actions by the courts and the Reagan Administration designed to narrow the scope of the law, its sponsors said at a press conference at the Capitol last week.

"Recent legal and administrative interpretations of Title IX are threatening this law's effectiveness," said Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut. "By introducing these resolutions, Congress is making it clear that Title IX is to be enforced."

"We want to send a message to the courts and to the Administration,'' added Representative Claudine Schneider, Republican of Rhode Is-land. "The intent of the law is not to be subverted."

The Reagan Administration last week asked a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., to uphold a regulation that would require federally funded clinics to notify parents when they prescribe contraceptives for minors.

An lawyer for the Justice Department, which is appealing a ruling against the regulation by a federal district judge, said the Administration believed that "it's entirely legitimate for a parent to be involved in family-planning decisions of an adolescent child."

The rule was developed in response to a 1981 amendment to the Public Health Services Act that said federally funded clinics should "to the extent practical" encourage family participation in their activities.

The regulation also was struck down in a suit in federal court in New York City. The Administration also has appealed that decision.

Vol. 02, Issue 34

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