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Message from ASA on Reauthorization of IDEA

We do not anticipate that the IDEA Reauthorization will be addressed this year. IDEA will most likely be brought to the Senate floor early next year. The Senate has adjourned until Tuesday, 12/9/2003 when they will finalize a few appropriations matters and break again. The Senate will then reconvene for the remainder of the 108th Session on Tuesday, January 20th.

The Republicans and Democrats have entered into a unanimous consent decree limiting the number of amendments to be offered and the corresponding time for debate. The Democratic amendments will include provisions for homeless/foster children and research into the environmental causes of developmental disabilities. An amendment requiring mandatory full funding of the IDEA will definitely be offered by Senator Tom Harkin.

The Republican amendments will likely include an amendment changing the provisions of the IDEA regarding the recovery of attorneys' fees and some type of paperwork reduction model. It is our understanding that the Republicans have given up any plan for an amendment removing children with disabilities from the annual yearly progress provisions of the NCLB.

As always, ASA will stay informed and keep all posted on events if they should change.

Lee Grossman
Chair, Board of Directors
Autism Society of America