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2006 March - April

The Ensuring Success in School Act

Promoting School Success and Safety of Young People Who Are Parents, Expectant Parents, or Victims of Domestic or Sexual Violence

By Wendy Pollack, Aleeza Strubel & Jennifer Lee

Young people who are parents, expectant parents, or victims of domestic or sexual violence face particular barriers to completing their high school education. Legislation that advocates are promoting in Illinois--the Ensuring Success in School Act, or ESSA--would require schools and school districts to act to remove these barriers. The legislation would require schools to recognize, rather than punish, students for fulfilling their parenting obligations and to recognize the safety needs of student victims of domestic or sexual violence.

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Lead Dust as Solid Waste

A New Legal Strategy for Achieving Lead Safety

By Thomas G. Neltner

Traditionally viewed as a law focused on the regulation of hazardous waste from manufacturing operations and the disposal of solid waste, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act is also a strategic tool to protect children from lead dust hazards. The Environmental Protection Agency, in two actions, used this statutory authority to protect children from lead poisoning by solid waste generated from the deteriorated lead-based paint because the lead dust posed a substantial and imminent endangerment to public health. The agency's two enforcement actions set a precedent that tenants, consumers, community-based groups, advocates, and attorneys can use to eliminate lead hazards in residential, commercial, and public buildings.

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Confronting Sentences that Silence

The Americans with Disabilities Act's Effective Communication Mandate for Prisoners and Probationers Who Are Deaf

By MaryBeth Musumeci

State prisons routinely fail to accommodate the communication needs of deaf inmates as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Suffering in silence, deaf inmates do not receive critical medical or substance abuse treatment; nor can they participate meaningfully in prison proceedings. Without legal assistance to ensure their civil rights, prisoners who are deaf will continue to suffer in silence.

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Introduction to Administrative Law and Practice for the Poverty Law Advocate

By Stephanie E. Haffner

Being knowledgeable about administrative agencies helps advocates achieve positive results. Learning about an agency's organization and operations is possible through formal requests under the Freedom of Information Act and state open-record laws. Understanding the substantive and procedural limits on what an agency can do will help advocates influence an agency's policy through public rule making and informal agency policy setting.

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Individual and Systemic Challenges to Section 8 Voucher Terminations for Failure to Submit Income Verification

By Jennifer Dieringer

Anecdotal information indicates that, as a result of the decrease in available Section 8 vouchers, housing authorities are putting pressure on their employees to terminate existing Section 8 recipients from the program. One common reason for termination is the failure of participants to verify their income for annual recertification. The regulation concerning the recipient's duty to give information to a housing authority appears to permit a housing authority to terminate a participant for failure to submit income-verification documents. However, detailed subregulations allow termination for this reason only in very limited circumstances.

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Foreclosure Equity Stripping

Legal Theories and Strategies to Attack a Growing Problem

By Prentiss Cox

Foreclosure equity-stripping scams are carried out by unscrupulous property "acquirers" who prey on low-income and often unsophisticated homeowners who face foreclosure. As prices of real estate skyrocket and homeowners gain equity, these scams are becoming more prevalent. Against the acquirers, homeowners who fall victim to these scams and are in danger of losing their property may resort to such remedies as claiming an equitable mortgage, the Home Ownership Equity Protection Act, and state laws on unfair and deceptive acts and practices.

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The Path to Universal Health Coverage for Children in Illinois

By John Bouman

Illinois's All Kids program provides health insurance to every child in Illinois regardless of income or status. With the passage of this program in November 2005, Illinois became the first state in the country to offer health insurance to literally every child. As other states and Congress consider, in the midst of persistent state and national fiscal troubles, whether to pursue the All Kids strategy to provide health coverage to all children, the path to All Kids in Illinois may be a useful case study.

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