info. on HB 1350

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-28-2003
info. on HB 1350
Wed, 06-11-2003 - 10:37pm
Hope it's ok that I post this message here.. it's regarding a special education law...

As you may know, now that H.B. 1350 has passed the house, our only hope of derailing these damaging amendments to IDEA is in the Senate. The Senate Committee of Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) is drafting its own version of the bill. A legislative experts report that the situation in HELP is still fluid and uncertain. While several HELP members are still solidly in our corner, we face strong opposition from some surprising quarters, such as Sen. Lamar Alexander's staff.

Plainly, the Senators are getting a great deal of their information from school districts. Senate staff repeat the usual stories of Cadillac -- make that Rolls-Royce -- services coerced out of defenseless school districts by parents' lawyers who run "IDEA mills." The stories from Tennessee involve dolphins and horseback riding lessons. You get the picture.

It is absolutely imperative that all members of the Senate, especially the members of the HELP committee (I will list their names and states below), hear from their constituents. (COPAAns from Tennessee are especially needed since both Frist and Alexander are HELP membersl COPAAns from Ohio, Kansas and Alabama are also urged to write since Sen. DeWine and Sen. Roberts are quite new to IDEA issues, and Sen. Sessions has shown some interest in the parents' position). Write about your own child or others whom you advocate for. Write, call or e-mail, but please, please let your voice be heard.  As for what we should say to our Senators, I would suggest the following themes:

Tell a simple, human story that anyone can relate to.  I wouldn't emphasis diagnosis or specialized interventions; I would talk about denial of access to quality education, about lack of opportunity for educational progress. I think it is important to tell our stories in terms that all Americans can relate to.

Or you could emphasize how difficult it has been to get services of the most basic quality for your child.

Here's a list of all the senators on the committee and links to their websites. Please, Please Please take a few minutes to drop a message to your representative. Please DO NOT delay faxing letters because you want to write a really good one. Any letter you can write now handwritten, super short, whatever ? would help.

We are all busy, but taking a few moments to follow up will make a big difference. Please feel free to

forward the body of this message to family, friends, and other contacts.

Senator Judd Gregg (NH), Chair,

Senator Bill Frist (TN),

Senator Edward Kennedy (MA), Ranking Member,

Senator Mike Enzi (WY),

Senator Christopher Dodd (CT),

Senator Lamar Alexander (TN),

Senator Tom Harkin (IA),

Senator Christopher Bond (MO),

Senator Barbara Mikulski (MD),

Senator Mike DeWine (OH),

Senator James Jeffords (I) (VT),

Senator Pat Roberts (KS),

Senator Jeff Bingaman (NM,

Senator Jeff Sessions (AL),

Senator Patty Murray (WA),

Senator John Ensign (NV),

Senator Jack Reed (RI),

Senator Lindsey Graham (SC),

Senator John Edwards (NC),