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California Capitol Hill Bulletin



Volume 6, Bulletin 24 -- July 22, 1999

CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE:
Memorial Services Next Wednesday in Calif., Friday in Washington, for Rep. George Brown
Unanimous Californians Send Title I Letter
House Appropriations Panel Funds SCAAP at $585 Million
HASC Marks Up Encryption, Amendment Would Limit Exports
Lieutenant Governor Bustamante Addresses Institute Breakfast
Tax Bills Extend R&D and Other Credits
House Approves Teacher Empowerment Act
Internet Alcohol Sales Bill Approved in House Judiciary
Africa Trade Bill Approved By House
House Ways and Means Deliberates on Medical Confidentiality
ESEA Migrant Education Hearing
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Considered
California Staff Briefed on Next Generation Internet
Briefing Held On Health Of Children In Immigrant Families



To expand communications between Washington and California, the California Institute provides periodic faxed bulletins regarding current activity on Capitol Hill which directly impacts our state. Bulletins are published weekly during sessions of Congress, and occasionally during other periods. The e-mail edition is made possible in part by in kind donations from Sun Microsystems and QUALCOMM, Inc.

Memorial Services Next Wednesday in Calif., Friday in Washington, for Rep. George Brown

California lost one of its most revered and popular bipartisan voices last Thursday evening, when veteran Congressman George Brown succumbed to a post-operative infection, a complication from routine heart valve replacement surgery performed at Bethesda Naval Hospital. Services are scheduled for next Wednesday in California and for next Friday in Washington DC.

Memorial services will be held at the San Bernardino Convention Center at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 28. The Washington D.C. memorial service will be held in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol Building at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, July 30.

George Brown was first elected to public office in 1954, as a Monterey Park city councilmember, becoming mayor in 1955. In 1958, Brown was elected to the California State Assembly and served there until 1962, when he came to Congress for the first time. After an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate in 1970, Brown returned to Congress in 1972, where he remained ever since. He served as Chair and as Ranking Democrat on the Science Committee, and as Chair and then Chair Emeritus of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation. Brown served more years in Congress than any Californian in the history of the state.
 

Unanimous Californians Send Title I Letter

Every member of the California Congressional delegation this week signed a letter to the Chair and Ranking member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, and Education opposing attachment of any hold harmless provision to the education appropriations bill for FY2000. The letter, circulated by Reps. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (San Diego) and Lynn Woolsey (Petaluma), strongly urged the committee to "resist efforts to include a 'hold harmless' provision for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Title I funding." The letter notes that "although close to 15 percent of the nation's poor children live in California, our state receives only 11 percent of the funds distributed under Title I." The letter was delivered prior to a subcommittee markup which initially had been scheduled for Wednesday, July 21st, but which has been postponed indefinitely.
 

House Appropriations Panel Funds SCAAP at $585 Million

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce-Justice-State today approved its FY2000 spending measure which included $585 million for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP), the same level as was agreed upon for FY1999.

In June, the Senate Appropriations Committee moved to slash SCAAP funding by 83%, to $100 million. If the House and Senate figures remain steady through floor passage, the significant difference would remain for resolution in conference.

The state estimates that a total appropriation of $100 million would reduce its share of the award to about $31.4 million, a $152 million reduction from the prior allocation. Los Angeles County alone would see its $19 million grant dropped to just $3 million.

In March, all 52 members of the California Congressional Delegation signed a letter to House Subcommittee Chair Hal Rogers calling for the full authorized funding level for SCAAP.
 

HASC Marks Up Encryption, Amendment Would Limit Exports

On Wednesday, July 21, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) marked up an encryption bill, adopting a substitute amendment by Rep. Curt Weldon (PA) which would continue to allow the federal government to substantially limit the export of encryption products. The legislation thus differs from the versions previously approved by the House Judiciary and Commerce Committees. The HASC action finally clears the bill for floor consideration, perhaps in September, but serious negotiations will be needed to determine the nature of the floor vehicle given that there are substantial differences among the five committees' versions (Judiciary, HASC, Commerce, International Relations, and Intelligence).

The Weldon substitute, approved 46-6, would allow the President to limit the export level of encryption strength on a broad-based national security basis. At present, the Administration limits exports based on encryption strength and the industry sector requiring the encryption. See Bulletin, Vol. 6, No. 21 (7/24/99). The substitute also would create an Encryption Advisory Board with public and private sector members, require semi-annual presidential declarations regarding permissible export strengths for encryption products, and place requirements on end-user and end-use disclosure.

Some members, including Reps. Ellen Tauscher (Pleasanton) and Loretta Sanchez (Anaheim), argued that many of the software products which would be export-restricted are already available freely from companies in other countries, and limiting such exports would simply cede market share from California and U.S. firms to their foreign competitors.
 

Lieutenant Governor Bustamante Addresses Institute Breakfast

Lieutenant Governor of California Cruz Bustamante addressed the California Institute's Advisory Board on Tuesday July 20. In his remarks, the Lieutenant Governor addressed security at California's laboratories, US-Mexico trade, the activities of the Commission on State Lands, of which he is a member, and the interest of the State's infrastructure working group in raising the bonding capacity of the State from 4.1% to 5.5% or 6%.
 

Tax Bills Extend R&D and Other Credits

On Thursday, by a 223-208 largely party-line vote, the House of Representatives passed a $792 billion tax reduction package. Included in the bill is a five-year extension of the research and development (R&D) tax credit to June 30, 2004. The credit benefits research-intensive companies, many of which are located in California, but it expired at the beginning of this month. The House bill would apply the credit retroactively to July 1. The House bill would also increase by one percentage point the alternative incremental credit rate (AICR) within the R&D credit, increase by 40% the low-income tax credit, and extend the welfare-to-work tax credit.

During Wednesday's consideration of their version of a tax cut package, which also totals $792 billion, the Senate Finance Committee by voice vote approved an amendment which would permanently extend the R&D credit. The amendment was offered by Senator Orrin Hatch (UT) and accepted immediately by Committee Chairman William Roth (DE).

After Senate floor consideration within the next week or two, the two packages will be conferenced during the August recess, but any resulting bill will face a White House veto threat.
 

House Approves Teacher Empowerment Act

On Tuesday July 20th the House passed the Teacher Empowerment Act (HR 1995), by a vote of 239-185. The bill would allow local school districts to decide how to spend grant money: by hiring more teachers or by funding teacher training programs. The bill also allows school districts to offer incentives, such as signing bonuses, in an effort to better recruit and retain teachers. The bill combines the funding of the current Eisenhower Professional Development Title II program, Goals 2000, and class size reduction monies, which in total would allocate approximately $2 billion a year for the next 5 years for the new block grant. President Clinton and the White House lobbied heavily against the bill vowing that he would veto the bill if it reached his desk. Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (Santa Clarita) introduced the bill, arguing that merely reducing class size does not necessarily ensure better education for children. Inclusion of the class size reduction program, passed last fall as part of the omnibus spending package, came over the objection of som members. Rep. Matthew G. Martinez (Monterey Park) proposed an alternative that would have retained class size reduction funding as a stand-alone program, allocating more money to schools in poorer communities. The measure was defeated by a vote of 217-207. The package also includes an overall hold-harmless on funds for combined grant dollars. The Senate currently does not have a comparable bill but is expected to take up the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization this fall.
 

Internet Alcohol Sales Bill Approved in House Judiciary

On Tuesday July 20, a bill allowing state attorneys general to boost enforcement of alcohol sales via the Internet was approved via voice vote by the House Judiciary Committee. The bill (HR 2031) would allow state attorneys general to prosecute out-of-state companies who violate state laws in the process of shipping alcohol to consumers. Several Members from California expressed concern the provision law might force some small winery businesses to close. Rep. Zoe Lofgren proposed an amendment, defeated by a vote of 8-22, which would have focused the restrictions of HR 2031 more narrowly on towards alcohol sales to minors.
 

Africa Trade Bill Approved By House

On Friday, July 16, the House approved the African Growth and Opportunity Act (HR 434). The focus of this bill is to supply tariff relief on imports of products, primarily targeting the Sub-Saharan African countries. The lead sponsor of the bill was House Subcommittee on Africa Chairman Ed Royce (Fullerton), who shepherded passage by a 234-163 margin. The bill would require the countries requesting trade preferences to not violate any human rights laws and to work towards establishing a market driven economy. A country found violating any requirements would lose their trade preferences. California ranks fourth among states in trade with Africa after Texas, Illinois and New York.

For more information, see Rep Royce's web page at http://www.house.gov/royce/ . The House committee report text is available at ftp://ftp.loc.gov/pub/thomas/cp106/hr019p1.txt and the bill text can be found at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c106:hr.434: .
 

House Ways and Means Deliberates on Medical Confidentiality

The discussion of medical confidentiality continued on the Hill Tuesday when the Health Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee met to hear testimony on the need for federal legislation, the best form for legislation, and the current state of medical confidentiality in the Medicare program. Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) if Congress does not enact medical privacy legislation by Aug. 21, HHS will implements its own regulations on medical confidentiality of electronic medical records by February 2000. In the first panel, the Committee heard from Administration witnesses from the Department of Health and Human Services as well as the General Accounting Office (GAO). The HHS witnesses emphasized the need for federal legislation, stated that an interagency team has been assembled to prepare the regulations described by HIPAA, and detailed HCFA's efforts to improve protections for personally identifiable beneficiary information. The GAO outlined a number of weaknesses in the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA)'s confidentiality practices relating to the identifiable information it keeps on Medicare beneficiaries which could lead to unauthorized individuals reading, disclosing or altering confidential information.

A second panel including medical confidentiality specialists and providers all argued for the need for strong federal legislation, but disagreed on many of the specific elements including the advisability of instituting a federal floor of protections, or preempting state laws with a federal ceiling. In other medical privacy news, the House financial services overhaul bill (HR 10) contains provisions added by Rep. Ganske (IA) which seek to limit the sharing of medical information as affiliations develop among insurers, banks and brokerages which were criticized for loopholes at a Wednesday hearing of the House Banking Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee. Officials of the American Medical Association and the Clinton administrations urged that the language be stricken.

For further information, see, Bulletin, Vol. 6, No. 23 (7/15/99).
 

ESEA Migrant Education Hearing

The consideration of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) continued Thursday when the House Committee on Education and the Workforce met Thursday to discuss "Helping Migrant, Neglected, and Delinquent Children Succeed in School" addressed under Title I of the Act. Mr. Francisco Garcia, Director of the Office of Migrant Education, Department of Education described background and rationale for the program, what the program does, the current status of the program, and the Administration's suggestions for improving the Migrant Education Program (MEP). The Administration proposes simplifying the funding formula including: 1) Replacing current reliance of estimates and full-time equivalents (FTE) of migrant children to a system based on a State's child count on the number of eligible children residing in the State in the previous year, plus those who received services under the program in summer or intersession programs provided by the State, double counting the second category because of the greater cost of those programs. 2) Establishing minimums and maximums for annual State allocations wherein no state would be allocated less than 80 percent or more than 120 percent of its allocation from the previous year. The proposal also includes streamlining of planning and implementation and improving interstate coordination activities.

Also testifying before the committee on behalf of the National Association for Migrant Education (NAME) was Mr. Oscar Guzman, a student at California State University, Sacramento. Mr. Guzman discussed his experience with the Migrant Head Start, the Migrant Education Program, and the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP). Other witnesses included a student support specialist from a migrant child development project in Pennsylvania, the Interstate Migrant Education Council, and a consultant with the Kentucky Department of Education. When asked what would happen if these program monies were made into a block grant, all witnesses responded that it would be detrimental to migrant and delinquent children.

Testimony is available at http://www.house.gov/eeo/hearings/106th/fc/fchearings.htm .
 

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Considered

In December 1998 the Commission On Structural Alternatives for the Federal Courts of Appeals (also known as the White Commission) presented its final report to the President and Congress recommending that the Ninth Circuit itself remain intact as an administrative entity, but that Congress should restructure it into smaller, regionally based adjudicative divisions to decide appeals from within each region. Regional divisions are recommended to have from seven to eleven active circuit judges, with a majority residing in the division. Divisions should perform an en banc function, and the circuit wide en banc process should be abolished. A "Circuit Division" with 13 judges from all the divisions would resolve conflicts between regional divisions. The Commission also made suggestions about the circuits and courts of appeals in general, recommending against circuit-splitting, proposing authorization of courts with more than 15 judgeships to restructure into adjudicative divisions, and emphasizing the need for restructuring when courts reach 18 to 20 judgeships.

Senator Murkowski's S.253, the Ninth Circuit Reorganization Act of 1999, would create the regional adjudicative divisions recommended by the Commission. California currently provides 60% of the case load of the Ninth Circuit. Under this bill, California would be divided between two of the three regions: Eastern California and Northern California would be in the Middle Division, and Central California and Southern California in the Southern Division.

On Tuesday, Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced S.1403, which would make the following procedural changes in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals: 1) Decrease from the current majority to one-third the number of judges who must agree to review a decision, making review of decisions easier; 2) Increase the number of judges that rehear a case; and 3) Require that at least one of the three judges presiding over an appeal is from the region in question.

The Senate Judiciary Committee met Friday July 16, and the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property met today, to consider both the Report and the legislative proposals. The House heard testimony from Senator Feinstein and Rep. Tom Campbell (Campbell), and both received testimony from Senators Senators Jon Kyl(AZ), Frank Murkowski (AK), Harry Reid (NV), and Slade Gorton(WA). The Committees also heard from judges including Procter Hug, Jr., Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as well as Circuit Judges Rymer (a member of the Commission), O'Scannlain and Senior Judge Wiggins, Senior Judge of the Ninth Circuit. Assistant Attorney General Eleanor Acheson, Ronald Olson of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP and other legal professionals also testified.

There remain ongoing differences of opinion between parties about several aspects of the historically contentious debate which break into three main positions: following the recommendations of the Commission; completely splitting the 9th Circuit and creating a 12th Circuit; or continuing with the status quo with some administrative changes. Sen. Murkowski argued that the size of the Circuit, its case load and reversal rate by the Supreme Court demand reform such as outlined in his bill, whereas Rep. Campbell argued for more data to be gathered before a decision of the need for reform can be know, citing especially the need to compare the reversal rate with the certiorari rate. If the Circuit is sub-divided, divergence of opinion remains on whether California should be split into two of the divisions or remain as its own. Sen. Murkowski said that what matters is not what is good for California, but what is good for the people of the 9th circuit, though he also said he would be willing to consider leaving California as a division all to itself. Senator Feinstein has said that she will continue to do everything she can to prevent the division of the state of California. Ranking House Subcommittee member Howard Berman (Valley Village) said that he continues to oppose the proposals to split or reorganize the Ninth Circuit while he remains ready to entertain innovations such as en banc reforms, including those in Senator Feinstein's bill.

Governors Wilson and Davis have both been strong opponents of the strategy proposed in S. 253 to divide California into two of the three sub-divisions. In a July 7, 1999 letter to Senator Feinstein, Governor Davis urged her to reject S. 253 because it creates a separation between Northern and Southern California and because splitting California would likely "result in inconsistent federal rulings on important California laws... as a result businesses operating in California would be subject to conflicting state laws, making it more costly to do business in California."

A copy of the Commission's Final Report can be obtained through the web site at http://app.comm.uscourts.gov/ or by calling the Administrative Office of the Courts (202) 502-1520.
 

California Staff Briefed on Next Generation Internet

In a House committee room on Tuesday, representatives from the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) briefed 35 California Congressional delegation staff members regarding their efforts to build a high-bandwidth successor to the current internet, and demonstrated an application that could be accessed remotely, but only over such a high-speed link.

At the briefing, researchers from UCLA demonstrated the Urban Simulation Laboratory, an interactive exploration of Los Angeles. The presenters showed how one can use the system to fly (or drive) through various neighborhoods, inspect realistic architectural models of buildings, make queries about aspects of the buildings, etc. The system has a number of uses in urban planning, including aiding in the rebuilding of earthquake, fire, riot and flood damaged areas of Los Angeles. It is generally useful in education, emergency response, health care delivery, and environmental research.

CENIC is a not-for-profit corporation formed by the California Institute of Technology, the California State University, Stanford University, the University of California, and the University of Southern California to advance the use of communications technology in research and education at California's universities. Current industrial partners include Cisco Systems, IBM, Pacific Bell, and Sun Microsystems. More information is available at http://www.cenic.org .
 

Briefing Held On Health Of Children In Immigrant Families

A congressional briefing sponsored by The Population Resource Center and The Congressional Hispanic Caucus was held on Friday July 16 and focused on new findings on the health and demographic layout of children in immigrant families. Presentations were given by Fernando Guerra, M.D., M.P.H, Director of Health, San Antonio Metropolitan Health District and Donald J. Hernandez, Ph.D., Professor Department of Sociology, State University of New York at Albany. Dr. Hernandez stated that 35% of the nation's first-and-second generation children live in California, triple the percentage of the next highest state, New York, at 12%. Even more striking is the fact that two in five California children are first- or second-generation, again the highest rate in the nation (Hawaii is next at 25%).

Dr. Guerra commented that children in immigrant families appear to experience better health (fewer acute and chronic health problems, and lower prevalence of accidents and injuries) than do children in U.S. born families, especially withing the first generation. However, he noted that over time and across generations, for some immigrants acculturation diminishes the protective factors of immigration, citing as possible contributing factors limited educational opportunities, unsafe communities, and lack of health care access and health insurance.

For more information on this topic contact the Population Resource Center via their web site at http://members.aol.com/PopResCtr/prc.html .

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