Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up — May 9, 2016

A quick look back at the news from last week, compiled by Penn Hill Group:


The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions will hold a hearing on dyslexia research and education on Tuesday, May 10. Witnesses have not yet been announced.

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold a hearing on leveraging science and technology on Wednesday, May 11. Witnesses include: Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier, Vice Chair, National Science Board; Dr. Jeannette Wing, Corporate Vice President for Research, Microsoft; Dr. Robert Atkinson, President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation; Dr. David Munson, Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Michigan.


The U.S. Department of Education’s (ED’s) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) released its annual report on protecting students’ civil rights and increasing educational equity, Delivering Justice. In 2015, OCR processed 10,392 civil rights complaints, opened over 3,000 investigations and reached over 1,000 resolutions with institutions.

ED updated their “Transitioning to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): Frequently Asked Questions” document, which addresses queries states and local educational agencies may have around ED’s expectations during the transition to full implementation of ESSA.

ED and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a joint policy statement on family engagement related to a child’s development and early childhood education.

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request, ED released the names of 21 colleges whose student-loan cohort default rates were adjusted by ED to The Wall Street Journal. ED stated that they released this information in error.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) wrote to the University of North Carolina System (UNC) expressing concern over UNC’s compliance with Title IX in light of North Carolina House Bill 2 (H.B. 2). The DOJ asserted that by enforcing H.B. 2, UNC is in violation of Federal law by discriminating against transgender individuals. The DOJ asked UNC to reply by Monday, May 9, regarding how it may remedy this violation.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is seeking comments on proposed rules that would prohibit banks and other companies offering financial products from using mandatory arbitration clauses that prevent borrowers from joining class-action suits.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to approve a proposed exception to its restrictions on the use of autodialers by collectors of government backed debt (including Federal student loans) to call cellular phones of borrowers with such debt. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said that these calls would be limited to three-calls-per-month, and callers will be required to inform consumers of their right to stop the calls.