Home | Join | History | Statutes | Legislation | Articles | Clearing House | Keep Your Freedom | Events | Background | Contact Us




LEGISLATION CURRRENTLY BEFORE THE 110TH CONGRESS

HR 1058:  Hope Scholarship Act of 2007

HR 1056:  Family Education Freedom Act of 2007

S 1332: Mental Health in Schools Act of 2007

H. R. 2647:  The Mental Health and Substance Abuse Juvenile Services Improvement Act of 2007

 



1.  HR 1058: Hope Scholarship Act of 2007

   

    Proposed by:  Congressman Ron Paul

 

Purpose:  To amend the IRS Code to allow the Hope Scholarship Credit to be used for elementary and secondary expenses.

 

 Bill text of concern:

      SEC. 2. HOPE SCHOLARSHIP CREDIT AVAILABLE FOR ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY

                                                EDUCATIONAL EXPENSES.

      (a) In General- Subsection (f) of section 25A of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

 

            `(3) SPECIAL RULE FOR HOPE SCHOLARSHIP CREDIT- In the case of the Hope Scholarship Credit, the term `qualified tuition and related expenses' shall include `qualified elementary and secondary education expenses' (as defined in section 530(b)(4)); except that--

 

                  `(A) such term shall include a contribution or gift to the school (other than the home school ) at which dependents of the taxpayer are attending, and

 

                  `(B) the term `school' shall include a home school .'.

 

      (b) Effective Date- The amendment made by this section shall apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2006.

 

         Possible consequences:  IRS will be able to develop administrative rules defining what is a “home school” and what is a “qualified expense” in a home school, thereby necessitating further scrutiny by the IRS into an individual’s home school and curriculum.  A federal definition of “home school” may also supercede and negate a state definition of a “home school” and state law regarding the existence of home schools.

 

2.  HR 1056:  Family Education Freedom Act of 2007

 

       Proposed by:   Congressmen Paul, Feeney, Rush and Sensenbrenner

 

       Purpose:   To amend the IRS Code to provide a tax credit for tuition and related expenses for the cost of

       attendance at an educational institution, including any private, parochial, religious, or home school

       organized to provide elementary or secondary education, or both.    

 

       Bill text of concern:   

“(c) Definitions- For purposes of this section--

 

            `(1) QUALIFIED EDUCATIONAL EXPENSES- The term `qualified educational expenses' means cost of attendance in connection with the elementary or secondary education of the student at a qualified educational institution. Under regulations prescribed by the Secretary, rules similar to the rules relating to cost of attendance (within the meaning of section 472 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1087ll) (as in effect on the date of the enactment of this paragraph) shall apply for purposes of the preceding sentence.

 

            `(2) QUALIFIED EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION- The term `qualified educational institution' means any educational institution (including any private, parochial, religious, or home school ) organized for the purpose of providing elementary or secondary education, or both.”

 

“(e) Regulations- The Secretary shall prescribe regulations to carry out this section, including regulations providing for claiming the credit under this section on Form 1040EZ.'.”

 

          Possible consequences:  IRS will be able to develop administrative rules defining what is a “home school” and what is a “qualified expense” in a home school, thereby necessitating further scrutiny by the IRS into an individual’s home school and curriculum.  A federal definition of “home school” may also supercede and negate a state definition of a “home school” and state law regarding the existence of home schools.

 

Top of Page

 

 

  1. S 1332: Mental Health in Schools Act of 2007

 

    Proposed by:  Senators Reid, Kennedy, Domenici, Dodd, Enzi

          

           Purpose: To amend the Public Health Service Act to revise and extend projects relating to children and

           violence to provide access to school -based comprehensive mental health programs.

 

           Bill text of concern: 

 

           “(B) That the comprehensive school -based mental health program carried out under this section support

            the flexible use of funds to address--

 

                        `(i) the promotion of the social, emotional, and behavioral health of all students in an environment

                             that is conducive to learning;

 

                        `(ii) the reduction in the likelihood of at risk students developing social, emotional, or behavioral

                              health problems;

 

                        `(iii) the treatment or referral for treatment of students with existing social, emotional, or

                               behavioral health problems;

 

                        `(iv) the early identification of social, emotional, or behavioral problems and the provision of early

                                intervention services; and

 

                         `(v) the development and implementation of programs to assist children in dealing with violence.

 

                  `(B) STUDENT AND FAMILY MEASURES OF OUTCOMES- The measures of outcomes developed

                         under paragraph (1)(B) relating to students and families shall, with respect to activities carried

                         out under a program under this section, at a minimum include provisions to evaluate--

 

                        `(i) whether the program resulted in an increase in social and emotional competency;

 

                        `(ii) whether the program resulted in an increase in academic competency;

 

                        `(iii) whether the program resulted in a reduction in disruptive and aggressive behaviors;

 

                        `(iv) whether the program resulted in improved family functioning;

 

                        `(v) whether the program resulted in a reduction in substance abuse;

 

                        `(vi) whether the program resulted in a reduction in suspensions, truancy, expulsions and

                                violence;

 

                        `(vii) whether the program resulted in increased graduation rates; and

 

                        `(viii) whether the program resulted in improved access to care for mental health disorders.

 

           Possible consequences:  The bill promotes government intervention in family matters, particularly when it talks about “early intervention”, i.e., before a child reaches compulsory school attendance age.  In addition, it promotes “school/family/community” linkages for the purpose of effecting “social, emotional or behavioral intervention”.  It does not specify how the “intervention” is to take place or if the “intervention” will be voluntary at the request of the family or if the family will be compelled by the government to accept the “intervention”.  In addition, it provides for “measures of outcomes” to be reported back to the government concerning issues unrelated to “mental health”, such as “academic competency, graduation rates, suspensions, truancy, and expulsions, and family functioning.  Also, if the term, “school”, is defined in federal law to include “home school”, then “school based mental health” may be applied to a “home school”, leading to still more government intrusion into the home and family. 

Top of Page

 

 

  1. H. R. 2647:  The Mental Health and Substance Abuse Juvenile Services Improvement Act of 2007

 

               Proposed by:  Congressman Jefferson

 

               Purpose: to promote mental health among all children, from birth through adolescence, and their

               families and to provide early intervention services to ameliorate identified mental health problems in

               such children.

 

               Bill text of concern:

`(1) provide a comprehensive, community-based, culturally competent and developmentally appropriate prevention and early intervention program that provides for the identification of early mental health problems and promotes the mental health and enhances the resiliency of children from birth through adolescence and of their families;

            `(2) incorporate families, schools, and communities in an integral role in the program;

 

            `(3) coordinate behavioral health care services, interventions, and supports in traditional and non-traditional settings and provide a continuum of care for children from birth through adolescence and for their families;

 

            `(8) provide school -based mental health assessment and treatment services conducted by a mental health professional (who may be a school counselor, school nurse, school psychologist, clinical psychologist, or school social worker) in public elementary or secondary schools.

 

`(f) Evaluation- The Secretary shall ensure that entities receiving awards under subsection (a) carry out an evaluation of the project, including an evaluation of the effectiveness of program strategies, and short, intermediate, and long-term outcomes including the program's overall impact on strengthening families with young children and creating environments in home , school , and community settings that promote healthy emotional development and reduce incipient mental health and substance abuse problems. Local educational agencies receiving such awards shall ensure that the schools receiving these funds maintain an average ratio of one certified or licensed--

`(1) The term `mental health' means a state of successful performance of mental function, resulting in productive activities, fulfilling relationships with other people, and the ability to adapt to change and cope with adversity.

 

            `(2) The term `mental illness' refers to all diagnosable mental disorders (health conditions characterized by alterations in thinking, mood, or behavior or some combination thereof) associated with distress or impaired functioning or both.

 

Possible consequences:  This bill also involves government into the home by promoting the mental health of children “from birth”.  This bill also does not specify whether the government intervention is voluntary or compulsory.  It also promotes intervention in “public elementary or secondary schools”. The definition of “public elementary and secondary schools” may include home schools, particularly because the bill seeks to have an impact on “creating environments in home settings.” 

Top of Page

 

 

 

Home | Join | History | Statutes | Legislation | Articles | Clearing House | Keep Your Freedom | Events | Background | Contact Us