July 8th, 2011 | View Archive
SENATORS INTRODUCE BILL TO REPEAL PROBLEMATIC EDUCATION REGULATIONS
On June 30, Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Richard Burr (R-NC) introduced the Protecting Academic Freedom in Higher Education Act, S. 1297. This bill complements HR 2117, introduced by Congressman Foxx (R-NC) and passed out of the House Committee on Education and Workforce on June 15.
Both bills would repeal state authorization and credit hour provisions issued by the Department of Education. The two provisions have been strongly opposed by a majority of the higher education community as an unwarranted expansion of federal authority.
SENATE PANEL APPROVES BILL TO EXTEND DHS AUTHORITY TO SET SECURITY STANDARDS FOR CHEMICAL FACILITIES
The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs approved S. 473, the Continuing Chemical Facility Antiterrorism Security Act, on June 29 that extends the authority of the Department of Homeland Security to regulate facilities—including universities—that deal with large lists of chemicals deemed potential security hazards.
The committee approved S. 473 with one amendment that extends the expiration date of the legislation to 2014. The bill is identical to one introduced in the last Congress and is primarily an extension of existing Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) regulations. The current regulations are set to expire in October.
As is, CFATS regulations classify universities in the same class with chemical manufacturers and industrial agricultural corporations. Efforts have been made for research universities to be exempt from CFATS regulations but these concerns were not addressed during the committee markup.
The House Homeland Security Committee approved its version of the CFATS extension (H.R. 901) on June 22, a measure that is only slightly different from the Senate bill. Both chambers are expected to consider their respective bills sometime this summer.
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