HACU Legislative Update
January 29, 2007
Washington, D.C. Office
The New Congress
The 110th Congress, under Democrat's control, returned to the nation's capitol on January 2, 2007.
Prior to the opening session, both parties began committee appointments for House and Senate. HACU is monitoring this process. Representative Rubén Hinojosa has been appointed as the Chair of the Higher Education, Life Long Learning and Competitiveness Subcommittee of the House Committee on Education and Labor. We expect more of our friends to assume similar important leadership positions.
The leadership of the 110th Congress has expressed an interest in stopping all work on FY 2007 appropriations and funding FY 2007 at FY 2006 levels through a continuing resolution. Accordingly, HACU Government Relations staff has developed the FY 2008 appropriations requests and is meeting with staff from the appropriations committees to introduce these requests to Congress. Membership will have a chance to weigh in on these efforts at the Capitol Forum March 25-27 in Washington, D.C.
HACU Legislative Issues
HEA - A full bill has not yet been reintroduced. However, 41 bills relating to the HEA have, four in the Senate and 37 in the House. Congressman Hinojosa reintroduced the Title V Graduate Initiative as HR 451 - Next Generation Hispanic-Serving Institutions Act on January 12, 2007. Other bills include the College Student Relief Act of 2007 (HR5, S282), Student Debt Relief Act of 2007 (S359), Fairness in Higher Education Act of 2007 (HR416), Non-Traditional Student Success Act (S301), and the College Opportunity Act of 2007 (S7). In all likelihood these bills, and others, will be considered for incorporation into a final HEA reauthorization bill.
No Child Left Behind - Rumor suggests that Congress will not take on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) - or No Child Left Behind (NCLB) - during the first session of the 110th Congress. Yet several representatives have already introduced ESEA focused bills, such as Rep. McCarthy's (NY) HR 354 "to improve school safety." We will be following ESEA focused bills very closely in connection with HACU's Hispanic-Serving School District (HSSD) initiative.
The Farm Bill - The reauthorization of the 2002 Farm Bill will be a major HACU agenda item for the 110th Congress. The HACU work plan for the reauthorization process can be found at http://www.hacu.net.
To gather information, HACU is hosting focus groups in select regions: San Antonio in October, California State Polytechnic University at Pomona Jan. 12, the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez Jan. 25, New Mexico State University Feb. 8, and Fresno State University, CA, Feb. 23. We also expect to host a sixth meeting at Northeastern Illinois University in mid-February.
On the basis of these meetings, a HACU Farm Bill policy document will be developed for 2007 Capitol Forum participants to carry to members of House and Senate Agriculture committees.
Wireless Technology and MSIs - The MSI Digital and Wireless Technology bill has been reintroduced in the 110th Congress in several bills: S291 by Senators G. Smith (OR) and Kerry (MA) and S315 by Senators Warren (VA) and Webb (VA). The House, under the leadership of Representatives Towns (NY) and Forbes (VA), introduced a companion bill on January 24.
The Capitol Forum - Join us at this year's Capitol Form March 25-27 in Washington D.C. and in particular during the Capitol Hill visits and at the closing Reception in Room 902 of the Hart Senate Office Building. More information and on-line registration for the Capitol Forum is available at www.hacu.net.
Western Regional Office (WRO)
All five legislatures in the WRO service area have returned, or will return, to session this year. HACU has already issued a response to California Governor Schwarzenegger's proposed budget and is in the process of getting authorship for HACU's first state legislative proposal. HACU also continues to monitor the budgets and legislative proposals in Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington and will respond as appropriate.
Erica M. Romero
For more information, visit Government Relations at the HACU website at http://www.hacu.net.
HACU Member Advisories are a service of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.