Government Relations

Government Relations Legislative Update

Government Relations Legislative Update

Updates on state and federal issues relating to the UW System.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Federal Update for January 7, 2011

Bullying Policies

In response to requests for assistance from state and local officials across the country, following a rash of bullying-related suicides, U.S. Education Secretary Duncan recently distributed a memorandum to state leaders outlining critical components of strong state bullying laws and policies. This technical assistance memo is intended to serve as a useful reference for state and local officials developing or revising anti-bullying legislation or policies. In the memo, Department staff compiled key components of existing anti-bullying laws from 29 states. In addition to the memo, staff are preparing a comprehensive summary of state anti-bullying laws and conducting a study of how those laws are implemented, in the hopes that the data could further guide states in crafting effective regulations.

Meanwhile, the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Task Force is now accepting submissions from the public of field-based practices to combat bullying.
Entries that are approved for posting online may be in any number of formats, from research articles to youth-produced Public Service Announcements (PSAs).
All materials and resources posted online must be free of charge and hosted on a government or non-profit web site.

U.S. Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs

The December 15 Federal Register included the Department’s notice of final supplemental priorities and definitions for discretionary grant programs. This notice finalized priorities in three key areas: advancing cradle-to-career educational reforms, addressing the needs of student subgroups, and building capacity for systemic continuous improvement. Within each of these categories, there are four to eight priorities, from improving early learning outcomes (Priority 1) to increasing postsecondary success (Priority 8) to improving productivity (Priority 16). The Department may use, as appropriate for particular discretionary grant programs, one or more of these priorities in any discretionary grant competition.

Legislative Calendar

The U.S. House of Representatives will reconvene next Tuesday, January 11, to consider H.R. 2, as well as a House resolution (H. Res. 9) instructing specific House committees to develop alternative health care reform legislation. H.R. 2 is legislation to repeal the new health care law.

In addition, House Republican leaders are working to fulfill a campaign promise they made last year to return non-security discretionary spending to its FY08 levels. They said at the time that defense, homeland security, and veterans programs would be exempt from such cuts. They estimated that the savings would be $100 billion in FY11, based on the President’s proposed FY11 budget of $1.13 billion.

Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has said the target for FY11 savings is now about $60 billion in FY11, reports CQ Today. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said during a press conference on January 4 that defense spending might be included in cost-cutting efforts, reports National Journal Daily. He said, “I think most of us have said everything is going to be on the table. And we’re going to be about setting priorities.”

Of note, President Obama is expected to deliver his State of the Union address on January 25; the President is expected to release his FY 2012 budget proposal by mid-February.

National Academies Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals

The National Academies has released the final version of the updated Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, which serves as the basis for the Public Health Service (PHS) animal research policy, as well as for institutional accreditation by the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC). The purpose of the update, the first since 1996, was “to reflect new scientific information related to the issues already covered in the Guide, and to add discussion and guidance on new topics of laboratory animal care and use related to contemporary animal research programs.”

New requirements in the latest version of the Guide include group housing of all social species, intra-operative monitoring of animals undergoing surgical procedures, and a greater emphasis on recordkeeping. There also is additional information about aquatic species, protocol review, and occupational safety and health programs.

A prepublication of the Guide was released in June, and the final version reflects some additional language changes, many of which appear to be minor wordsmithing. AAALAC is developing detailed guidance and FAQs before integrating the new Guide into the accreditation process. It is not clear when and how the PHS Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare will incorporate changes in the new Guide into its regulations, but it seems likely that agency officials will coordinate with AAALAC’s process. AAALAC anticipates issuing the new accreditation guidance sometime in February.

Association of University Technology Managers

The 2010 edition of the “Better World Report,” published by the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), provides new examples of products and companies that have arisen from research conducted by the nation’s universities, hospitals, and national laboratories.

This latest compilation of academic technology transfer success stories highlights the 30th anniversary of the Bayh-Dole Act, which allowed universities and nonprofit organizations to obtain patents on inventions that had been federally funded, thus sparking a major expansion in technology transfer. Along with a foreword by former Senator Birch Bayh (D-IN), co-author of the Bayh-Dole Act, the publication presents 30 examples of innovations developed from academic research, one for each year of the Bayh-Dole Act.

(AAU, U.S. Department of Education, and the UW System Office of Federal Relations contributed to this report.)