November 28, 2017
This is a hearing to examine reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, focusing on examining proposals to simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
November 30, 2017
This is a hearing to address the front lines of the opioid crisis, focusing on perspectives from states, communities, and providers.
By Seung Min Kim, November 26, 2017
The month of December is expected to be especially difficult for a divided Congress. In the week following Thanksgiving, the Senate will try to push through its tax bill before attempting to pass the federal budget to avoid a government shutdown. Policymakers are also battling over emergency aid for areas hit by natural disasters, and bracing for potential backlash from increasing counts of sexual harassment accusations. Congress is likely to pass a short-term funding plan to meet the December 8 spending bill deadline, giving Republicans and Democrats a few extra weeks to come to a compromise.
By Jeremy Bauer-Wolf, November 17, 2017
While former comments from House Speaker Paul Ryan indicated the House would not include provisions to protect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in the upcoming spending bill, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham is pushing Congress to do just that. “I think most Americans want to get these DREAM Act kids a more certain life. Let’s do it in December, let’s do it for the good of the country, let’s take care of a lot of problems at one time to show the country we actually can function,” Graham stated in CNN’s “State of the Union." Graham has also indicated that he believes a shutdown over the issue is possible.
By Joseph Hong, November 26, 2017
The Department of Justice is conducting a Title VI investigation of affirmative action practices at Harvard University and has threatened to sue if the university does not turn over applicant records. Previously, the Justice Department never participated directly in affirmative action cases, and the investigation indicates a change in procedure. Vanita Gupta, President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights explains, “The attorney general seems to be on the hunt for a case to bring a significant challenge to affirmative action, despite the fact that the Supreme Court has continuously upheld the lawfulness of race conscious admissions in higher education.” The investigation is in response to a 2015 complaint filed by Asian-American associations alleging discriminatory race-based admission policies. While dismissed by the Education Department, the case remains active in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. Direct inquiry from the Justice Department may illicit a response from other universities to roll back their affirmative action policies in fear of being put under investigation as well.
By Andrew Kreighbaum, November 27, 2017
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos rolled back several Obama-Era regulations designed to promote loan servicer accountability. These requirements would judge servicers on outcomes for borrowers as well as effectiveness of communication and guidance. Over the past year, many state policymakers have essentially adopted the Obama-Era regulations to increase oversight for loan servicers, tightening state-based polices amid federal rollbacks. Now both servicers and regulators await a decision from the Education Department on if the federal policy advantages the state regulations, or if they will stay out of the way of state oversight. Last month 32 state attorneys general told Secretary DeVos that the Higher Education Act does not give the feds the power to pre-empt state consumer protections.
*States in session: Washington DC, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin*
While the Policy and Advocacy Team at NASPA has been watching for movement of TX HB 46 and TX HB 50 during Texas Special Session, both failed to move forward by the end date of 8/16/2017. These bills mimic failed legislation HB 2899, a slightly more lenient form of the original TX SB 6 Bathroom Bill. TX HB 46 would forbid “political subdivisions, including a public school district” from adopting or enforcing measures to “protect a class of persons from discrimination” in regulating “access to multi-occupancy restrooms, showers or changing facilities.” HB 50 was identical except applying only to a school district board. In the past few months other states have retreated from the conversation. Additional bills of this kind are unlikely to be introduced during the 2016-2017 legislative session.
In the past few months, we have seen 11 states consider 18 pieces of anti-sanctuary legislation that would affect college campuses. 6 states have introduced (pro) sanctuary legislation that extends to college campuses. Of this legislation, 9 pieces have failed, and 15 are pending, and 4 have been enacted. PA HB 14 was removed from the table on 06/22/2017. IL statewide legislation was enacted in August and CA SB 54, a statewide sanctuary bill was approved by the Governor on 10/05/2017.
Guns on Campus:
Upwards of 17 states are considering legislation concerning guns on campus during the current session. In the 43 pieces of legislation the Policy and Advocacy Team is tracking, 17 bills are pending, 21 have failed, and 7 have been enacted, in AR, GA, OK and TX. GA HB 280 went into effect on 07/01/2017. TX SB 11 which will allow anyone over 21 with a gun license to conceal carry was enacted on 08/16/2017. CA AB 424 enacted by the Governor on 10/14/2017.
-Primary Sponsor: Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) (Introduced 11/02/2017)
-Committees: House-Ways and Means
-Latest Action: Passed the House in the Senate
The Senate released the text of its tax legislation on 11/21/2017, and a floor vote on the bill is expected some time this week.
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