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Article of Interest - Assistive Technology (AT)

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Bridges4Kids LogoAssistive Technology Bill Headed to President for Signature
CEC, October 13, 2004
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The full U.S. House of Representatives passed the Assistive Technology Act of 2004 (H.R. 4278) on October 8, 2004, sending it to President Bush for his signature. The Assistive Technology Act primarily funds state programs that provide assistive technology (AT) devices and services to individuals with disabilities. Some features of H.R. 4278 include:

* A 60/40 and 70/30 split in funding for state activities;
* A minimum state grant of $410,000; and
* A sunset provision is waived, so that AT will now be regularly

Following is a press release on the House passage from the House Committee on Education and the Workforce:

McKeon Bill to Expand Access to Technology for Individuals with Disabilities Approved by House, Ready for President's Signature

On October 8, 2004 the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation, authored by 21st Century Competitiveness Subcommittee Chairman Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA, to expand access to technology for individuals with disabilities. The bill, the Assistive Technology Act of 2004 (H.R. 4278), is now headed to President Bush for his signature.

"This bill shifts the focus of the program to provide greater benefit to individuals with disabilities. Our goal is to help states get more assistive technology directly into the hands of individuals with disabilities," said McKeon. "I know this will help states continue to make progress in their efforts to expand access to assistive technology, and that increasing numbers of individuals with disabilities will be able to participate in society more fully everyday."

The bipartisan bill, approved last week by the U.S. Senate, will strengthen assistive technology programs by refocusing resources to provide more direct aid to individuals with disabilities. By requiring states to spend the majority of their assistive technology grants on activities that directly benefit individuals with disabilities, the Assistive Technology Act of 2004 will help guarantee individuals will have greater access to assistive technology. The bill encourages states to invest in the programs that have been shown the most effective in providing assistive technology devices.

Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), chairman of the Education & the Workforce Committee, praised the bill's reforms. "This bill is a milestone for Americans with disabilities who depend on assistive technology to improve their quality of life," said Boehner. "By devoting fewer resources to building bureaucracy, this bill will expand access to needed technology for Americans of all ages living with disabilities."

    

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