Text: H.R.970 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (02/27/2003)


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[Congressional Bills 108th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 970 Introduced in House (IH)]






108th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 970

To provide competitive grants for training court reporters and realtime 
     writers to meet requirements for closed captioning under the 
        Telecommunications Act of 1996, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                           February 27, 2003

       Mr. Kind (for himself, Mr. Isakson, Mr. Holt, Mr. Neal of 
Massachusetts, Mr. Boswell, Mr. Andrews, Mr. Filner, Mrs. Maloney, Ms. 
 Baldwin, Mr. Lynch, Mrs. Capito, Mr. Aderholt, Mrs. Biggert, and Mrs. 
McCarthy of New York) introduced the following bill; which was referred 
            to the Committee on Education and the Workforce

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To provide competitive grants for training court reporters and realtime 
     writers to meet requirements for closed captioning under the 
        Telecommunications Act of 1996, 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 ``Training for Realtime Writers Act 
of 2003''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

     Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) As directed by Congress in section 723 of the 
        Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 613), as added by section 
        305 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-104; 
        110 Stat. 126), the Federal Communications Commission adopted 
        rules requiring closed captioning of most television 
        programming, which gradually require new video programming to 
        be fully captioned beginning in 2006.
            (2) More than 28,000,000 Americans, or 8 percent of the 
        population, are considered deaf or hard of hearing and many 
        require captioning services to participate in mainstream 
        activities.
            (3) More than 24,000 children are born in the United States 
        each year with some form of hearing loss.
            (4) According to the United States Department of Health and 
        Human Services and a study done by the National Council on 
        Aging--
                    (A) 25 percent of Americans over 65 years old are 
                hearing impaired;
                    (B) 33 percent of Americans over 70 years old are 
                hearing impaired; and
                    (C) 41 percent of Americans over 75 years old are 
                hearing impaired.
            (5) The National Council on Aging study also found that 
        depression in older adults may be directly related to hearing 
        loss and disconnection with the spoken word.
            (6) Empirical research demonstrates that captions improve 
        the performance of those individuals learning to read English 
        and, according to numerous Federal agencies' statistics, could 
        benefit--
                    (A) 3.7 million remedial readers;
                    (B) 12 million young children learning to read;
                    (C) 27 million illiterate adults; and
                    (D) 30 million people for whom English is a second 
                language.
            (7) Over the past 5 years, student enrollment in programs 
        that train court reporters to become realtime writers has 
        decreased significantly, causing such programs to close on many 
        campuses.

SEC. 3. AUTHORIZATION OF GRANT PROGRAM TO PROMOTE TRAINING AND JOB 
              PLACEMENT OF REALTIME WRITERS.

    (a) In General.--The Secretary of Education shall make competitive 
grants to eligible entities under subsection (b) to promote training 
and placement of individuals, including individuals who have completed 
a court reporting training program, as realtime writers in order to 
meet the requirements for closed captioning of video programming set 
forth in section 723 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 613) 
and the rules prescribed thereunder.
    (b) Eligible Entities.--For purposes of this act, an eligible 
entity is a court reporting or realtime writing training program that--
            (1) can document and demonstrate to the Secretary of 
        Education that it meets minimum standards of educational and 
        financial accountability, with a curriculum capable of training 
        realtime writers, qualified to provide captioning services;
            (2) is accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by 
        the Department of Education; and
            (3) participates in student aid programs under title IV of 
        the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070 et seq.)
    (c) Priority in Grants.--In determining whether to award grants 
under this section, the Secretary of Education shall give priority to 
eligible entities that--
            (1) demonstrate the greatest ability to increase their 
        capacity to train realtime writers;
            (2) demonstrate the most promising collaboration with local 
        educational institutions, businesses, labor organizations, or 
        other community groups having the potential to train or provide 
        job placement assistance to realtime writers; and
            (3) propose the most promising and innovative approaches 
        for initiating or expanding training or job placement 
        assistance efforts for realtime writers.
    (d) Duration of Grant.--A grant under this section shall be for a 
period of 2 years.
    (e) Maximum Amount of Grant.--The amount of a grant provided under 
subsection (a) to an entity eligible may not exceed $1,500,000 for the 
2-year period of the grant.

SEC. 4. APPLICATION.

    To receive a grant under section 3, an eligible entity shall submit 
an application to the Secretary of Education at such time and in such 
manner as the Secretary shall require. The application shall include--
            (1) a description of the training and assistance to be 
        funded using the grant amount, including how such training and 
        assistance will increase the number of realtime writers;
            (2) a description of performance measures to be utilized to 
        evaluate the progress of individuals receiving such training 
        and assistance in matters relating to enrollment, completion of 
        training, and job placement and retention;
            (3) a description of the manner in which the eligible 
        entity will ensure that recipients of scholarships, if any, 
        funded by the grant will be employed and retained as realtime 
        writers;
            (4) a description of the manner in which the eligible 
        entity intends to continue providing the training and 
        assistance to be funded by the grant after the end of the grant 
        period, including any partnerships or arrangements established 
        for that purpose;
            (5) a description of how the eligible entity will work with 
        local workforce investment boards to ensure that training and 
        assistance to be funded with the grant will further local 
        workforce goals, including the creation of educational 
        opportunities for individuals who are from economically 
        disadvantaged backgrounds or are displaced workers; and
            (6) such other information as the Secretary may require.

SEC. 5. USE OF FUNDS.

    (a) In General.--An eligible entity receiving a grant under section 
3 shall use the grant amount for purposes relating to the recruitment, 
training, assistance, and job placement of individuals (including 
individuals who have completed a court reporting training program) as 
realtime writers, including--
            (1) recruitment activites;
            (2) subject to subsection (b), the provision of 
        scholarships to individuals for training in realtime writing;
            (3) distance learning;
            (4) design and development of curriculum to more 
        effectively train realtime writing skills and education in the 
        knowledge bases necessary for the delivery of high quality 
        closed captioning services;
            (5) assistance in job placement for upcoming and recent 
        graduates with all types of captioning employers;
            (6) encouragement of individuals with disabilities to 
        pursue a career in realtime writing; and
            (7) the employment and payment of personnel for such 
        purposes.
    (b) Scholarships.--
            (1) Amount.--The amount of a scholarship under subsection 
        (a)(2) shall be based on the amount of need of the recipient of 
        the scholarship for financial assistance, as determined in 
        accordance with part F of title IV of the Higher Education Act 
        of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1087kk).
            (2) Agreement.--Each recipient of a scholarship under 
        subsection (a)(2) shall enter into an agreement with the 
        Secretary of Education to provide realtime writing services for 
        a period of time (as determined by the Secretary) that is 
        appropriate for the amount of the scholarship received.
            (3) Coursework and employment.--The Secretary shall 
        establish requirements for coursework and employment for 
        recipients of scholarships under subsection (a)(2), including 
        requirements for repayment of scholarship amounts in the event 
        of failure to meet such requirements for coursework and 
        employment. Requirements for repayment of scholarship amounts 
        shall take into account the effect of economic conditions on 
        the capacity of scholarship recipients to find work as realtime 
        writers.
    (c) Administrative Costs.--The recipient of a grant under section 3 
may not use more than 5 percent of the grant amount to pay 
administrative costs associated with activities funded by the grant.
    (d) Supplement not Supplant.--Grants amounts under this Act shall 
supplement and not supplant other Federal or non-Federal funds of the 
grant recipient for purposes of promoting the training and placement of 
individuals as realtime writers.

SEC. 6. REPORTS.

    Each eligible entity receiving a grant under section 3 shall submit 
to the Secretary of Education, at the end of each year of the grant 
period, a report which shall include--
            (1) a description of the use of grant amounts by the entity 
        during such year;
            (2) an assessment, utilizing the performance measures 
        submitted by the entity in the application for the grant under 
        section 4(b), of the effectiveness of activities carried out 
        using such funds in increasing the number of realtime writers; 
        and
            (3) a description of the best practices identified by the 
        entity as a result of the grant for increasing the number of 
        individuals who are trained, employed, and retained in 
        employment as realtime writers.

SEC. 7. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

     There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act--
            (1) $20,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2004, 2005, and 
        2006; and
            (2) such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 2007.
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