News in Brief
The House last week passed the last in a series of crime bills that would replace prevention and community-policing programs with a $10 billion block grant that local governments could spend on the anti-crime measures of their choice.
By a vote of 238 to 192, House Republicans succeeded in jettisoning the prevention programs that were a cornerstone of the crime legislation President Clinton signed into law last year.
The 1994 law authorized funding to put 100,000 new policeofficers on the streets as well as $6.9 billion over five years for community-development and violence-prevention programs in high-crime areas, including school-based anti-crime programs. Under the Republican bill, HR 728, local authorities could spend federal money on a broad range of crime-fighting measures.
The President said last week that he would veto any crime bill that did not earmark funds for local police. The House has sent its package of six crime bills to the Senate, which plans to begin hearings this month.
Block-Grant Accountability: States receiving federal block grants should be held accountable for results rather than for following strict government guidelines, the General Accounting Office recommends in a new report.
The researchers urge the use of long-term and annual performance goals and add that block-grant formulas can be improved to better reflect local needs.
There are now 15 block-grant programs, with funding totaling $32 billion--a small slice of the $206 billion in state aid provided by 593 federal programs in fiscal 1993, the G.A.O. found.
While noting that past transitions to block grants have been smooth, the report cautions that block-grant proposals now pending in the Republican-controlled Congress dwarf earlier consolidation efforts.
Health Care Return
Senate Democrats attempted to revive health-care reform last week by outlining a plan that is less ambitious than the Clinton Administration proposal that was rejected last year.
The proposed "family health-insurance protection act," S 7, would provide insurance for children in low-income families, offer tax breaks to small businesses that provide health coverage, and prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.
The bill should be seen as "down payment" on the goal of insuring that all Americans have access to affordable health care, Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., the Senate minority leader, said at a news conference last week. The bill was introduced last month.
More Members for Skills Board
President Clinton has made seven more appointments to the National Skill Standards Board, which was established to set training standards in various occupational areas.
Mr. Clinton had already named four board members. He must make one more selection. Eleven of 12 Congressional appointees have also been named. (See Education Week, Jan. 25, 1995.)
The new members include:
Paul F. Cole, the secretary-treasurer of the New York State A.F.L.-C.I.O.; Terrance Craney, an instructor of applied physics and mathematics at Northeastern Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay, Wis.; Marcia Devins Greenberger of Washington, the founder and co-president of the National Women's Law Center; Yvette Herrera of Washington, an administrative assistant to the president and director of education for the Communications Workers of America; Hugh B. Price of New York, the president and chief executive officer of the National Urban League and a former vice president of the Rockefeller Foundation, where he managed education programs for at-risk youths and minorities; John T. Smith, the special assistant to the international president of the United Steel Workers of America and the director of the U.S.W.A.'s dislocated-workers program in Youngstown, Ohio.; and Esteban Soriano, the president of The Resource Group, based in Riverside, Calif.