Text: H.R.490 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (01/29/2003)


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[Congressional Bills 108th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 490 Introduced in House (IH)]






108th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 490

 To improve access to printed instructional materials used by blind or 
   other persons with print disabilities in elementary and secondary 
                    schools, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                            January 29, 2003

Mr. Petri (for himself, Mr. George Miller of California, Mr. Otter, Mr. 
      Doyle, Mr. Dicks, Mr. Andrews, Mr. McDermott, Mr. Frank of 
 Massachusetts, Mr. Smith of Washington, Mr. Wilson of South Carolina, 
 Mrs. Maloney, Mr. Greenwood, Mr. Walsh, Mr. LaTourette, Mr. Boswell, 
Mr. Honda, Mr. Green of Texas, Mr. Tierney, Mr. Baca, Mr. Inslee, Mrs. 
  Davis of California, Mr. Pallone, Ms. Bordallo, Mr. Waxman, and Ms. 
   Norton) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the 
                Committee on Education and the Workforce

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
 To improve access to printed instructional materials used by blind or 
   other persons with print disabilities in elementary and secondary 
                    schools, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

     This Act may be cited as the ``Instructional Materials 
Accessibility Act of 2003''.

SEC. 2. PURPOSE.

     The purpose of this Act is to improve access to printed 
instructional materials used by blind persons, or other persons with 
print disabilities, in elementary schools and secondary schools through 
the creation of a coordinated and efficient system for acquisition and 
distribution of instructional materials in the form of electronic files 
suitable for conversion into a variety of specialized formats.

SEC. 3. TECHNICAL STANDARDS.

    (a) Standards.--
            (1) Publication.--The Secretary of Education, in 
        consultation with the National Institute of Standards and 
        Technology of the Department of Commerce, shall publish in the 
        Federal Register technical standards, to be known as the 
        Instructional Materials Accessibility Standards--
                    (A) as a proposed rule, not later than 270 days 
                after the date of enactment of this Act; and
                    (B) as a final rule, not later than 360 days after 
                the date of enactment of this Act.
            (2) Public comment.--The Secretary shall provide an 
        opportunity for the submission by the public of comments 
        regarding a proposed rule for at least 30 days before 
        publication under paragraph (1)(B) of a final rule.
            (3) Contents.--The Instructional Materials Accessibility 
        Standards shall--
                    (A) define the specific technical parameters of the 
                national electronic file format to be used by 
                publishers of instructional materials in the 
                preparation of electronic files suitable for efficient 
                conversion into specialized formats; and
                    (B) be consistent with and based upon existing and 
                emerging standards relating to electronic publishing 
                and translation technology used to produce specialized 
                formats.
    (b) Advisory Committee.--
            (1) Establishment.--In developing the Instructional 
        Materials Accessibility Standards under subsection (a), the 
        Secretary shall, in consultation with the National Institute of 
        Standards and Technology and not later than 90 days after the 
        date of enactment of this Act, establish an advisory committee, 
        to be known as the National Instructional Materials 
        Accessibility Advisory Committee, which shall provide technical 
        expertise and guidance to the Secretary for the creation of the 
        national electronic file format.
            (2) Members.--The Committee shall consist of individuals 
        who shall include at least one and not more than two 
        representatives of each of the following:
                    (A) Publishers of instructional materials.
                    (B) Producers of adaptive technology.
                    (C) Producers of materials in specialized formats.
                    (D) Organizations for blind consumers.
                    (E) Special education programs.
                    (F) Developers of accessibility and publishing 
                software and supporting technologies.
                    (G) Information technology standards organizations.
                    (H) Instructional materials resource centers with 
                substantial experience in file format preparation and 
                automated conversion technology.
                    (I) Any other organization or interest that the 
                Secretary determines to be appropriate.
    (c) Review and Amendment.--The Secretary, in consultation with the 
National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National 
Instructional Materials Accessibility Advisory Committee, shall 
periodically review and, as appropriate, amend the technical standards 
prescribed under subsection (a) to reflect technological advances or 
changes.

SEC. 4. STATE REQUIREMENTS FOR ENSURING TIMELY PROVISION OF 
              INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS TO STUDENTS.

    (a) State Obligations.--
            (1) Statewide plan.--Not later than 2 years after the date 
        of enactment of this Act, a State educational agency receiving 
        Federal financial assistance under the Individuals with 
        Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq.) shall, as a 
        condition of receiving such assistance, develop and implement a 
        written statewide plan designed to ensure that instructional 
        materials for classroom use in elementary schools and secondary 
        schools within the State are made available in specialized 
        formats to individuals who are blind or have other print 
        disabilities at the same time such materials are provided to 
        individuals without such disabilities.
            (2) Coordination.--A statewide plan submitted by a State 
        educational agency under paragraph (1) shall, to the maximum 
        extent practicable, be coordinated with any State program 
        improvement grant received by such agency under subpart 1 of 
        part D of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 
        U.S.C. 1451 et seq.), and shall contain an outline of the 
        activities that such agency intends to carry out using amounts 
        received under the grant to achieve the purpose of this Act.
            (3) Contents.--At a minimum, a statewide plan developed 
        under paragraph (1) shall--
                    (A) designate the entity responsible for collecting 
                and maintaining data related to identification of 
                individuals who are blind or have other print 
                disabilities and who require instructional materials in 
                specialized formats;
                    (B) establish the methods and procedures by which 
                instructional materials are provided in specialized 
                formats appropriate to the needs of the individual, 
                including the methods for converting electronic files 
                obtained under subsection (b) into specialized formats;
                    (C) identify the resources available for production 
                of instructional materials in specialized formats;
                    (D) establish procedures that local educational 
                agencies and any other agency with responsibility for 
                carrying out the education of children with 
                disabilities will follow to ensure the timely delivery 
                of instructional materials in specialized formats;
                    (E) provide assurances that contracts with 
                publishers meet the requirements of subsection (b); and
                    (F) provide for periodic evaluation to ensure that 
                instructional materials are made available in 
                appropriate specialized formats to individuals who are 
                blind or have other print disabilities at the same time 
                such materials are provided to individuals without such 
                disabilities.
    (b) Contracts With Publishers.--
            (1) Contracts for standardized files.--In addition to the 
        requirements of subsection (a), a State educational agency or 
        local educational agency receiving Federal financial assistance 
        under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 
        U.S.C. 1400 et seq.) shall, as part of any instructional 
        materials adoption process, procurement contract, or other 
        practice or instrument used for the purchase of instructional 
        materials, enter into a written contract with the publisher of 
        the materials to prepare, in conjunction with the provision of 
        such materials, electronic files containing the contents of the 
        materials in the national electronic file format prescribed 
        under section 3(a). The contract shall be entered into and take 
        effect not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of 
        this Act.
            (2) Contents of contracts.--A contract described in 
        paragraph (1) shall also provide for the following:
                    (A) Pupil editions.--Not later than 30 days after 
                the date of ratification of the contract, the publisher 
                will transmit to the National Instructional Materials 
                Access Center electronic files prepared in the national 
                electronic file format prescribed under section 3(a) 
                that correspond to the most recent pupil edition of the 
                materials covered under the contract that is in print 
                on the date of ratification of the contract, along with 
                a print copy of such materials. If the most current 
                pupil edition of such instructional materials in print 
                on the date of ratification of the contract is, or will 
                be, altered prior to the use of the materials in the 
                classroom or if no such edition exists on such date, 
                the publisher will, by a date specified in the 
                contract, transmit to the Center--
                            (i) electronic files containing a complete 
                        record of corrections and changes made to such 
                        instructional materials; or
                            (ii) electronic files prepared in the 
                        national electronic file format prescribed 
                        under section 3(a) that correspond to the pupil 
                        edition of such instructional materials that 
                        will be used in the classroom.
                    (B) Teacher editions.--Not later than 30 days after 
                receipt of a request from the National Instructional 
                Materials Access Center made on behalf of a teacher, 
                the publisher will transmit to the Center electronic 
                files prepared in the national electronic file format 
                prescribed under section 3(a) that correspond to the 
                teacher edition of the requested instructional 
                materials covered under the contract, if the request 
                includes--
                            (i) a specific description of the 
                        instructional materials needed by the teacher 
                        (including, if applicable, an International 
                        Standard Book Number (ISBN)); and
                            (ii) a certification that the teacher is 
                        blind or has a print disability.
    (c) Preemption of Inconsistent State and Local Requirements.--
Except as provided in subsection (d), subsection (b) supersedes any 
inconsistent requirements in the laws or regulations of any State or 
local government, with respect to publishers providing instructional 
materials in the form of electronic files intended for conversion into 
specialized formats to be used by blind or other persons with print 
disabilities.
    (d) Right of Contract.--Notwithstanding the requirements of this 
section, nothing in this Act may be construed to impair the right of 
any State educational agency or local educational agency to enter into 
a contract with any publisher of instructional materials for the 
purpose of directly obtaining from such publisher copies of electronic 
files prepared and transmitted in accordance with this section.

SEC. 5. NATIONAL INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS ACCESS CENTER.

    (a) Establishment.--Not later than 2 years after the date of 
enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall establish a center, to be 
known as the National Instructional Materials Access Center, which 
shall coordinate the acquisition and distribution of instructional 
materials in the national electronic file format prescribed under 
section 3(a).
    (b) Responsibilities.--The duties of the Center are the following:
            (1) To monitor the needs of State educational agencies and 
        local educational agencies for instructional materials in 
        specialized formats and to take appropriate administrative 
        steps to assist such agencies in ensuring that instructional 
        materials in the form of electronic files are submitted by 
        publishers to the Center under section 4(b).
            (2) To receive instructional materials under section 4(b) 
        in the national electronic file format prescribed under section 
        3(a) and to provide authorized entities with access to such 
        files, free of charge.
            (3) To verify the receipt and compliance of the materials 
        received under section 4(b) with the national electronic file 
        format prescribed under section 3(a).
            (4) To prescribe and publish policies and guidelines which 
        the Center will use for the submission, cataloging, retrieval, 
        and distribution of instructional materials in the national 
        electronic file format prescribed under section 3(a).
            (5) To prescribe and publish terms and procedures for 
        approval of authorized entities registering with the Center to 
        obtain access to the instructional materials in the national 
        electronic file format prescribed under section 3(a).
            (6) To provide access to the materials received under 
        section 4(b) to authorized entities and to coordinate, as 
        appropriate, with other programs providing access to 
        instructional materials in specialized formats.
            (7) To take such administrative steps as may be needed to 
        coordinate the efficient acquisition and distribution of 
        instructional materials in the national electronic file format 
        prescribed under section 3(a).
            (8) Promptly to forward to the appropriate publisher of 
        instructional materials a request made under section 4(b)(2)(B) 
        received for materials needed for a teacher.
            (9) To develop, adopt, and publish procedures to protect 
        against copyright infringement and otherwise to 
        administratively assure compliance with title 17, United States 
        Code, with respect to the instructional materials provided 
        under this Act.
    (c) Contract Authorized.--To assist in carrying out subsection (a), 
the Secretary shall award, on a competitive basis, a contract renewable 
on a biannual basis with a nonprofit organization, or with a consortium 
of such organizations, determined by the Secretary to be best qualified 
to carry out the responsibilities described in subsection (b). The 
contractor shall report directly to the Assistant Secretary for Special 
Education and Rehabilitative Services of the Department of Education.

SEC. 6. GRANTS FOR CAPACITY BUILDING.

    (a) Authority to Award Grants.--The Secretary may award grants to 
the eligible entities under subsection (b) (or a consortium of such 
entities) to provide or improve the capacity of such entities to 
prepare or obtain instructional materials in specialized formats 
(including the national electronic format prescribed under section 
3(a)).
    (b) Eligible Entities.--The following are entities eligible for a 
grant under this section:
            (1) State educational agencies.
            (2) Regional consortia of State educational agencies.
            (3) Local educational agencies.
            (4) Nonprofit organizations the primary mission of which is 
        to provide specialized services relating to training, 
        education, or adaptive reading or the information access needs 
        of blind persons or other persons with print disabilities.
    (c) Application.--An eligible entity that desires to receive a 
grant under this section shall submit an application to the Secretary 
at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the 
Secretary may require. The application shall include each of the 
following:
            (1) A description of the entity's current capacity to 
        prepare instructional materials in specialized formats.
            (2) The entity's assessment of needs to be met within the 
        geographic area to be served.
            (3) A plan for working with other similar entities in order 
        to ensure a coordinated approach in meeting such needs.
            (4) A description of proposed training of transcribers and 
        others who prepare instructional materials in specialized 
        formats and, if appropriate, specification of the technology to 
        be obtained and used in the program.
            (5) An assurance that the entity is, and shall remain, in 
        compliance with the provisions of section 121 of title 17, 
        United States Code, regarding the reproduction and distribution 
        of copyrighted instructional materials in specialized formats.
    (d) Procedures.--The Secretary may prescribe rules or procedures to 
carry out this section.

SEC. 7. ENFORCEMENT.

    (a) Rights, Remedies, and Procedures.--The rights, remedies, and 
procedures available to children and parents under subsections (b)(6), 
(e), (f), and (g) of section 615 of the Individuals with Disabilities 
Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1415) and section 504 of the Rehabilitation 
Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794) shall be the rights, remedies, and 
procedures available under this Act to children and parents aggrieved 
by violations of this Act by any State educational agency or local 
educational agency.
    (b) Rule of Construction.--This Act may not be construed to limit 
any right, remedy, or procedure otherwise available under any other 
provision of Federal law that provides greater or equal protection for 
the rights of blind persons or other persons with print disabilities.

SEC. 8. RELATIONSHIP TO SECTION 121 OF THE COPYRIGHT ACT.

    (a) Authorized Entity.--A publisher that provides instructional 
materials to a State educational agency or local educational agency in 
the national electronic file format prescribed under section 3(a), 
shall, for such purposes, be considered an authorized entity within the 
meaning of section 121 of title 17, United States Code.
    (b) Noninfringing Use.--Reproduction or distribution of 
instructional materials in a large print format exclusively for use by 
blind persons, or other persons with print disabilities, in elementary 
schools or secondary schools shall be considered a noninfringing use of 
such materials when conducted by an authorized entity (as that term is 
defined in section 121 of title 17, United States Code).

SEC. 9. SUPPLEMENT, NOT SUPPLANT.

     Funds made available under this Act shall be used to supplement, 
and not to supplant, any other Federal, State, local, or non-Federal 
funds available to carry out this Act.

SEC. 10. RESEARCH AND REPORTS.

    (a) Research.--The Secretary shall conduct research, directly or by 
grant or contract, about the effect of this Act on the timely delivery 
of instructional materials in specialized formats to students who are 
blind or have other print disabilities.
    (b) Reports.--Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of 
this Act, and biennially thereafter, the Secretary shall submit to the 
appropriate committees of Congress a report containing the results of 
the research described in subsection (a) and additionally, at a 
minimum, the following information:
            (1) The number of students directly affected by this Act.
            (2) The annual cost incurred to carry out this Act by the 
        Federal Government, State governments, and nonprofit entities 
        that may be involved in administering this Act.
            (3) The financial and in-kind contributions of State and 
        local governments, and private nonprofit and for-profit 
        entities, to activities conducted under this Act.
            (4) Changes in the percentage of individuals who receive 
        appropriate instructional materials in specialized formats at 
        the beginning of a school year compared to the percentage for 
        the beginning of the preceding school year.
            (5) Changes in the timeliness of delivery of appropriate 
        instructional materials in specialized formats from the 
        beginning of one school year to the beginning of the next 
        school year.
            (6) The extent to which States and local educational 
        agencies have been able to satisfy requirements of compliance 
        agreements or take other corrective actions regarding the 
        timely delivery of appropriate instructional materials.
            (7) Such other matters as the Secretary considers to be 
        relevant and appropriate.

SEC. 11. DEFINITIONS.

     In this Act:
            (1) The term ``print disability'' means, with respect to an 
        individual, student, or teacher, eligibility or qualification 
        under the Act of March 3, 1931, entitled ``An Act to provide 
        books for the adult blind'' (2 U.S.C. 135a), to receive books 
        and other publications produced in specialized formats.
            (2) The term ``instructional materials'' means printed 
        textbooks and related core materials that are written and 
        published primarily for use in elementary school and secondary 
        school instruction and are required by a State educational 
        agency or local educational agency for use in the classroom, 
        including teacher editions of such materials requested under 
        section 4(b)(2)(B).
            (3) The term ``national electronic file format'' means a 
        well-organized, structured, and marked-up electronic file that 
        is suitable for efficient conversion into specialized formats 
        and that is in conformance with the technical standards 
        prescribed under section 3(a).
            (4) The term ``Center'' means the National Instructional 
        Materials Access Center established by the Secretary under 
        section 5.
            (5) The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of 
        Education.
            (6) The term ``specialized format'', with respect to 
        instructional materials, means Braille, synthesized speech, 
        digital text, digital audio, or large print.
            (7) The terms ``State educational agency'', ``local 
        educational agency'', ``elementary school'', and ``secondary 
        school'' have the meanings given those terms in section 9101 of 
        the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 
        7801).

SEC. 12. EFFECTIVE DATE.

     This Act shall take effect upon its enactment and shall apply to 
instructional materials published and copyrighted after the date on 
which the technical standards prescribed under section 3(a) take 
effect.

SEC. 13. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    (a) In General.--There are authorized to be appropriated to carry 
out this Act $4,000,000 for fiscal year 2004 and such sums as may be 
necessary for each of the 6 succeeding fiscal years.
    (b) Reservation.--From the amount appropriated under subsection (a) 
for each fiscal year to carry out this Act, the Secretary shall reserve 
$1,500,000 to carry out section 5.
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