Summary: S.239 — 96th Congress (1979-1980)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Conference report filed in Senate (11/09/1979)

(Conference report filed in Senate, S. Rept. 96-412)

Domestic Volunteer Service Act Amendments of 1979 - Amends the Domestic Volunteer Services Act of 1973 to require the Director of the ACTION agency to provide individual post-service career development plans for volunteers not later than 30 days after the assignment of the volunteers.

Requires the Director to terminate the assignment to a project program, or volunteer to a State program, upon the timely disapproval of such program by the Governor, supported by a statement of reasons.

Provides that accrued stipends may be payable to a volunteer (or, on behalf of the volunteer) during the period of service of the volunteer, in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Director.

Prohibits the expenditure of more than 16 percent of the funds appropriated to carry out VISTA programs for the making of grants or contracts with Government agencies and nonprofit organizations for the assignment or referral of volunteers.

Limits national and regional VISTA grants and contracts to no more than $5,800,000 in fiscal year 1980 to support volunteers for such programs. Requires recipients of such grants or contracts to be selected through a competitive process with a focus on poverty-related programs.

Authorizes volunteers serving in University Year for ACTION programs to be enrolled for periods of service of not less than the duration of an academic year.

Allows up to 22 percent of the first $4,000,000 appropriated for special service-learning programs to be used to enable students in secondary and post-secondary schools to participate in programs other than the University Year for ACTION program.

Stipulates that the Director is authorized to make grants for special volunteer programs in urban and rural areas, and include in such programs: (1) a program of assistance to victims of domestic violence; (2) a program to provide financial counseling to low-and fixed-income individuals; (3) programs focused on de-institutionalization of persons in hospitals, mental institutions, nursing homes, and other facilities ("Helping Hand" programs); and (4) a program to provide technical and management assistance to distressed communities.

Authorizes the Director to provide financial support for short-term, part-time volunteers who are enrolled for 20 hours or more per week for 26 or more consecutive weeks. Allows full-time volunteers enrolled for a full year in special volunteer programs to be eligible to receive stipends and allowances, not to exceed those paid to VISTA volunteers.

Requires the Director to submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report on such special volunteer programs, activities, grants, and contracts, not later than 18 months after the first funds are made available.

Prohibits the use of ACTION agency funds to finance, directly or indirectly, any activity designed to influence the outcome of any election to State or local (as well as Federal) office.

Prohibits the use of funds appropriated to carry out such Act by any program assisted under such Act in any activity for the purpose of influencing the passage or defeat of legislation or proposals by initiative petition, except: (1) when a legislative body, or committee or member thereof, requests any such program volunteer or employee to draft, review, or testify regarding measures or to make representations to such legislative body, committee, or member; or (2) in connection with an authorization or appropriations measure directly affecting the operation of the program.

Declares that a requirement of such Act, that payments to domestic service volunteers not reduce or eliminate the level of or eligibility for Government assistance or services any such volunteers may be receiving, becomes inapplicable whenever the Director determines that the value of such payments is equivalent to or greater than the hourly minimum wage of Federal or appropriate State law, whichever is greater.

Forbids the denial of Government assistance to full-time VISTA volunteers, otherwise entitled to such assistance prior to enrollment, because of failure or refusal to register for, seek, or accept employment or training during the period of such service.

Requires the Director to take steps to encourage various employers to take into account volunteer work in the consideration of applicants for employment.

Declares specified full-time and part-time antipoverty volunteers to be Federal employees for purposes of the Hatch Act, the Internal Revenue Code, title II of the Social Security Act, the Federal Tort Claims, and the Federal Employees Compensation Acts.

Stipulates that full-time VISTA volunteers be paid at the annual rate of entry level GS-7 employees and that part-time volunteers be paid at the same rate, or an appropriate portion thereof as determined by the Director.

Makes the Federal Tort Claims Act the sole available remedy of an individual making a medical malpractice claim as a result of actions by a health care volunteer.

Includes discrimination against the handicapped as a disqualification for financial assistance to any program under the Domestic Volunteer Service Act.

Makes the policies and remedies of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Rehabilitation Act, and the Age Discrimination Act applicable to volunteers and applicants for volunteer in any ACTION program.

Sets forth requirements for prescribing regulations, including legislative veto and reporting provisions.

Requires the Director to take necessary action to reduce the paperwork required under the Act.

Requires the Director to review statements submitted not later than 30 days before the expiration of any project contract or grant by the executive authority of any State or local government objecting to the renewal of such project contract or grant. Requires the Director to take such statement into account in determining whether to renew such contract or grant and to submit to such executive authority a written statement of reasons regarding the renewal determination and the objection.

Authorizes appropriations for National Volunteer Antipoverty Programs through fiscal year 1981. Sets forth formulas for determining amounts allocated in fiscal years 1980 and 1981 for the VISTA, University Year for ACTION, service-learning, fixed-income counseling, and Helping Hand programs.

Authorizes appropriations for Domestic Volunteer Services program Administration through fiscal year 1981.

Requires the Director to report to specified House and Senate committees regarding implementation of the Act in rural areas.

Amends the Peace Corps Act to permit appropriations for the increase in the stipend for full-time volunteers to $75 per month without a specific provisions for such increase in any appropriations Act.

Makes various technical and conforming amendments to the Domestic Volunteer Service Act.