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A Swing and a Miss by the Missouri Supreme Court

WLF Legal Pulse - 4 hours 5 min ago
Have you ever been to a sporting event where the mascot and other cheerleaders shoot t-shirts and toss hot dogs into the crowd during lulls in the action? Fun for the whole family, right? Well thanks to a ruling from the Missouri Supreme Court, don’t be surprised if this tradition becomes a thing of the […]
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EPA’s “Waters of the U.S.” Proposal: Coming Soon to a Back Yard Near You?

WLF Legal Pulse - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 9:00am
 Guest Commentary by Scott McFadin, a 2014 Judge K.K. Legett Fellow at the Washington Legal Foundation and a student at Texas Tech School of Law. On April 21, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers issued proposed regulations that would increase their regulatory jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act […]
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Kline Statement on NLRB Joint Employer Decision

Education & the Workforce Committee - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 12:00am

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) issued the following statement after National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Richard Griffin determined McDonald’s Corp. and its franchisees are “joint employers”:

This decision is detached from reality. While the board is considering this very issue, the general counsel is trying to rewrite the franchise model workers, employers, and consumers have known for decades. This is yet another activist decision from the general counsel's office. Big Labor has scored once again at the expense of workers and employers. Let’s hope wiser heads prevail and this absurd decision is rejected.

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The Supreme Court’s NOT Top 10: October 2013 Term Cases the Justices Wrongly Passed Over

WLF Legal Pulse - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 11:08am
The Supreme Court press and other court observers have spilled a lot of ink this past month discussing the cases the Supreme Court took and decided during October Term 2013. Relatively little was said about the cases the court chose not to decide—and it passed over some doozies. But as Rush drummer and lyricist Neil […]
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Monday Morning Mojo: It’s Important

InteroMojo - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 7:30am

One of the things I really focus on doing is making a conscious decision every day to spend my time doing the important and not the urgent. Most people spend the majority of their lives running around like a chicken with their head cut off jumping from one thing to another dealing with all of the urgent crap in life. But you know what? The urgent stuff is typically nothing more than the important stuff we procrastinated on doing and now if it doesn’t get done something is going to blow up! Guess what – it’s urgent.

It’s important that we exercise and eat right every day. If we don’t, when we get 50 to 100 pounds overweight, and our blood pressure and cholesterol are through the roof, it will be urgent that we take care of ourselves so we don’t keel over and have a heart attack, or worse.

It is important that we spend quality time with our family, every day. If we don’t, it will become urgent one day when we come home and they are gone.

It is important to constantly be embracing change and innovation. If not, one day we will wake up and the world will have past us by and we will be frantically trying to catch up. Change and innovation will become urgent.

I know the urgent will always pull at us, but the key is to have the discipline to stick to doing the important and we will be successful at whatever we do. It’s Important, not Urgent.

Make it a GREAT week!

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Weekend Wellness: Epsom Salt

InteroMojo - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 9:00am

Recently, I have fallen in love with Epsom salt…do you know what it is? I found some great articles which I compiled together below. Read through this and it might help break down a little more information for you….and you just might fall in love with it too!

When I exercise a lot, I soak in a bath of Epsom salts every day and it helps enormously. It will also help (at least in my experience) any inflammation and/or bruising.

What I didn’t know until I did a little research is that Epsom salt also has great benefits with gardening and cleaning! Read on and check it out if interested!

What is Epsom salt?

Epsom salt, named for a bitter saline spring at Epsom in Surrey, England, is not actually salt but a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. Epsom salt has numerous health benefits as well as many beauty, household and gardening-related uses.

Studies have shown that magnesium and sulfate are both readily absorbed through the skin, making Epsom salt baths an easy and ideal way to enjoy the amazing health benefits. The Magnesium can help with regulating the activity of over 325 enzymes, reducing inflammation, helping muscle and nerve function and helping to prevent artery hardening. Sulfates help improve the absorption of nutrients, flush toxins and help ease migraine headaches.

What are the health benefits of using Epsom salt?

Epsom salt have been well known for hundreds of years and unlike other salts, Epsom salt has beneficial properties that can soothe the body, mind and soul. Some of the countless health benefits include relaxing the nervous system, curing skin problems, soothing back pain and aching limbs, easing muscle strain, healing cuts, treating cold and congestion, and drawing toxins from the body. One of the simplest ways to ease stress and stress-related problems is to soak in a tub full of hot water with a few cups of Epsom salt.

Stress drains the body of magnesium and increases levels of adrenaline. When dissolved in warm water, Epsom salt is absorbed through the skin and replenishes the level of magnesium in the body. The magnesium helps to produce serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of calm and relaxation. Research shows that magnesium also increases energy and stamina by encouraging the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the energy packets made in the cells. Experts believe that bathing with Epsom salt at least three times a week helps you to feel better and gain more energy. Magnesium ions also relax and reduce irritability by lowering the effects of adrenaline. They create a relaxed feeling, improve sleep and concentration, and help muscles and nerves to function properly.

Relieves pain and muscle cramps
An Epsom salt bath (you can use a foot bath too) is known to ease pain and relieve inflammation, making it beneficial in the treatment of sore muscles, bronchial asthma and migraine headaches. In addition, it has been known to heal cuts and reduce soreness from childbirth. Mix a thick paste of Epsom salt with hot water and apply to get soothing comfort. Try soaking your aching, tired (and smelly) feet in a tub of water with half a cup of Epsom Salt. It will soften skin and even neutralize foot odor.

Helps muscles and nerves function properly
Studies show that Epsom salt can help regulate electrolytes in your body, ensuring proper functioning of the muscles, nerves and enzymes. Magnesium is also known to be critical in the proper use of calcium, which serves as a main conductor of the electric impulses in your body.

Helps prevent hardening of arteries and blood clots
Epsom salt is believed to improve heart health and help prevent heart disease and strokes by improving blood circulation, protecting the elasticity of arteries, preventing blood clots and reducing the risk of sudden heart attack deaths.

Makes insulin more effective
Proper magnesium and sulfate levels increase the effectiveness of insulin in the body, helping to lower the risk or severity of diabetes.
Eliminates toxins from the body
The sulfates in Epsom salt help flush toxins and heavy metals from the cells, easing muscle pain and helping the body to eliminate harmful substances. Your skin is a highly porous membrane and adding the right minerals to your bathwater triggers a process called reverse osmosis, which actually pulls salt out of your body, and harmful toxins along with it.

For a foot bath, add 1/2 cup of Epsom salt to a basin of warm water. Relax and soak feet for 20 minutes. If you like, rub away any calluses using a pumice stone. Dry feet, then add two drops of peppermint essential oil to your favorite natural moisturizer, like shea or coconut butter, and rub in thoroughly to lock in the moisture. If you are pregnant or have any health concerns, check with your doctor before using Epsom salts.
EPSOM SALT USES: HEALTH
Athlete’s Foot – Soak feet in an Epsom salt bath to help relieve the symptoms of Athlete’s Foot.

Remove splinters – Soak affected skin area in an Epsom salt bath to draw out the splinter.

Treat toenail fungus – Soak your affected toes in hot water mixed with a handful of Epsom salt three times a day.

Soothe sprains and bruises – Add 2 cups Epsom salt to a warm bath and soak to reduce the pain and swelling of sprains and bruises.

Ease discomfort of Gout – Ease the discomfort of gout and reduce inflammation by adding 2-3 teaspoons of Epsom salts into a basin and immersing the affected foot/joint. The water should be as hot as it is comfortable. Soak for about 30 minutes.
EPSOM SALT USES: BEAUTY
Exfoliate dead skin – In the shower or bath, mix a handful of Epsom salt with a tablespoon of bath or olive oil and rub all over your wet skin to exfoliate and soften. Rinse thoroughly.

Exfoliating face cleanser – To clean your face and exfoliate skin at the same time, mix a half-teaspoon of Epsom salt with your regular cleansing cream. Gently massage into skin and rinse with cold water.

Dislodge blackheads – Add a teaspoon of Epsom salt and 3 drops iodine into a half cup of boiling water. Apply this mixture to the blackheads with a cotton ball.

Remove foot odor – Mix a half cup of Epsom salt in warm water and soak your feet for 10 minutes to remove bad odor, sooth achy feet, and soften rough skin.

Remove hairspray – Combine 1 gallon of water, 1 cup of lemon juice, and 1 cup Epsom salt. Cover the mixture and let set for 24 hours. The next day, pour the mixture into your dry hair and leave on for 20 minutes before shampooing as normal.

Hair volumizer – Combine equal parts deep conditioner and Epsom salt and warm in a pan. Work the warm mixture through your hair and leave on for 20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.
EPSOM SALT USES: HOUSEHOLD
Clean bathroom tiles – Mix equal parts Epsom salt and liquid dish detergent and use as a scrub on bathroom tile.

Prevent slugs – Sprinkle Epsom salt on or near interior entry points to prevent slugs.

As a hand wash – Mix Epsom salt with baby oil and keep by the sink for an effective hand wash.

Clean detergent build-up on washing machines – Fill the machine tub with hot water, add Epsom salt, and run an agitate/soak/agitate cycle to dissolve detergent build-up (please consult your machine’s instruction manual for specific instructions).
EPSOM SALT USES: GARDENING
Fertilize your houseplants – Most plants need nutrients like magnesium and sulfur to stay in good health and Epsom salt makes the primary nutrients in most plant foods (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) more effective. Sprinkle Epsom salt once weekly to help nourish your houseplants, flowers and vegetables.

Keep your lawn green – Magnesium sulfate crystals, when added to the soil, provide vital nutrients that help prevent yellowing leaves and the loss of green color (magnesium is an essential element in the chlorophyll molecule) in plants. Add 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt to a gallon of water and sprinkle on your lawn to keep the grass healthy and green.

Insecticide spray – Use Epson salts on your lawn and in your garden to safely and naturally get rid of plant pests.

Categories: Latest News

Intero Cool Apps: Destroy Vertical Video Syndrome For Good!

InteroMojo - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 9:00am

How many times have you recorded something on your phone vertically, that is, without turning it so it’s horizontal like a TV screen?

I know, we’re use to using our phones up and down for normal phone activities, but when it comes to filming or snapping photos we forget that the function of the phone has totally changed. Videos should be sideways like a screen. You can fit more into the photo when they’re taken horizontally. It’s hard to remember to turn your phone and that’s why I’m showing you today’s very cool app.

Horizon lets you record horizontal videos and photos no matter how you hold your device. It can be vertical, it can be sideways, it can be at an angle. No matter what, the app will automatically stay level so you can focus on what’s happening through the lens: your kid’s first bike ride or your wife’s reaction as she walks into a surprise birthday party.

It’s pretty awesome so you have to check it out. The app does cost $1.99 but believe me, it’s $1.99 well spent.

See how easy it is to use in the video below.

Click Here To Play

 

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House Advances Bipartisan Legislation to Support Youth Victims of Sex Trafficking

Education & the Workforce Committee - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 12:00am

The House of Representatives today approved the final bill in a series of legislative reforms aimed at strengthening support for youth who are victims of sex trafficking. The proposed bills would improve identification and assessment of child sex trafficking victims and enhance existing services for runaway and homeless youth.

“We have a moral obligation to do all we can to serve children who are victims of sex trafficking,” said Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN). “No victim should be denied critical support because of outdated policies or fall through the cracks of a child welfare system. The legislation passed by the House will fix these flaws and strengthen our response to this national crisis. I want to thank Representatives Bass, Heck, and Beatty for helping to lead this important, bipartisan effort.”

Each year an estimated 300,000 children become victims of sex trafficking. Many of these children were once involved in a state child welfare system, yet their experience with sexual exploitation may go undetected. The House-passed bipartisan legislation would enhance support services for victims and improve the child welfare response to trafficking:

  • Strengthening Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act. Introduced by Reps. Karen Bass (D-CA), John Kline (R-MN), Tom Marino (R-PA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), and Louise Slaughter (D-NY), the legislation (H.R. 5081) will improve practices within state child welfare systems to identify, assess, and document sex trafficking victims. H.R. 5081 passed the House by a vote of 399 to 0 on Friday, July 25.
                  
  • Enhancing Services for Runaway and Homeless Victims of Youth Trafficking Act. Introduced by Reps. Joe Heck (R-NV), John Kline (R-MN), and Bobby Scott (D-VA), the legislation (H.R. 5076) will improve support provided specifically to runaway and homeless youth who are victims of trafficking. H.R. 5076 passed the House by voice vote on Wednesday, July 23.

The House also passed earlier this week H.R. 5111, legislation introduced by Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) that would add the term “child sex trafficking” to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s CyberTipline reporting areas to reinforce that these children are victims, not criminals. H.R. 5111 passed the House by a vote of 409 to 0 on Thursday, July 24. 

To learn more about the legislative proposals, click here.

To watch Chairman Kline’s floor remarks on H.R. 5076, click here

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FDA Advisory Committee Not Rife with Conflicts of Interest? — “Please!” Quips Federal Judge

WLF Legal Pulse - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 4:35pm
In order to achieve results that it believes are vital to public health, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has demonstrated time and again that it’s not afraid to trample laws and constitutional rights along the way. Occasionally, judges reintroduce FDA to the Rule of Law. We applaud one such recent rebuke by Judge Richard […]
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Thursday’s Thoughts on Leadership: Winning

InteroMojo - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 12:45pm

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.?”
- Jack Welch

As I mentioned in last week’s blog, I’ve been listening to a great interview that Darren Hardy of SUCCESS magazine did with Jack Welch earlier this year. The interview has encouraged me to re-listen to Welch’s book, Winning, which came out in 2005.

Once again, I came to realize how much this book is definitely not your typical management book. It was built from information Welch gained from doing 150 sessions across the globe after he retired. In the sessions he allowed the attendees to ask any questions they wanted. All of the questions in one way or another, were about Winning. This content is what helped him to shape this book.

The book itself is full of Welch’s actual experiences from his forty years climbing the ranks and becoming chairman and CEO of GE. It’s written clearly and simply for optimal retention and it’s definitely not full of just the same old stuff. Welch’s optimistic, get-it-done mind-set keeps you engaged as he offers deep insights, original thinking and solutions to typical problems that you might run into in the work place.

One of the sections that is most notable is the chapter on Leadership. He lays out 8 rules that always work.

  1. Relentlessly upgrade your team. In every encounter with them, “evaluate, coach, and build self-confidence.”
  2. Instill the vision.
  3. Spread energy and optimism.
  4. Establish trust by being candid, transparent and giving credit where it’s due.
  5. Make the unpopular decisions.
  6. Probe and push. Make sure your “questions are answered with action.”
  7. Inspire risk-taking and learning by doing both yourself.
  8. Celebrate.

 

Overall, the book is a great read that anyone will find insightful no matter where you are in your career.

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Kline Applauds Passage of Higher Ed Bill to Improve Student Financial Counseling

Education & the Workforce Committee - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 12:00am

The House of Representatives today approved bipartisan legislation that would improve financial counseling support for college students and their parents. Passed by a vote of 405 to 11, the Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act (H.R. 4984) is the third in a series of bills passed by the House to strengthen the nation’s higher education system.

Authored by Representative Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and cosponsored by Reps. Richard Hudson (R-NC) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), the Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act:

  • Ensures both students and parents who participate in a federal loan program receive interactive counseling each year that reflects their individual borrowing situation.
                                                                                                
  • Informs low-income students about the terms and conditions of the Pell Grant program through annual counseling that will be provided to all grant recipients. 
                                                                                              
  • Directs the secretary of education to maintain and disseminate a consumer-tested, online counseling tool institutions can use to provide annual loan counseling, exit counseling, and annual Pell Grant counseling.

Earlier this week, the House also passed with overwhelming bipartisan support legislation to spur innovation and strengthen transparency in higher education. Speaking of the progress being made to reauthorize the Higher Education ActEducation and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) said:

The House continues to make strong, bipartisan progress toward strengthening our nation’s higher education system. The legislation advanced today will help students and families make smart choices about paying for a college education. I want to thank Representatives Guthrie, Hudson, and Bonamici for their bipartisan leadership on this important legislation. By working across the aisle, we can help make a difference right now in the lives of students and families. I encourage the Senate to follow our lead and look forward to continuing this bipartisan effort in the months ahead.

To learn more about H.R. 4984, click here.

To learn more about the effort to reform the Higher Education Act, visit http://edworkforce.house.gov/highered/.

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Kline Statement: H.R. 4984, the Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act

Education & the Workforce Committee - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 12:00am

Every family knows the cost of pursuing a higher education is out of control. It’s felt intensely each and every day by countless Americans; by parents who worry how they will put their kids through college; by students who fear they will be left with a pile of debt and no job prospects; by working men and women who hope a degree will let them reach the next rung on the economic ladder.

We know that solutions to the college cost crisis must ultimately come from states and institutions. But there are things Congress can do right now to keep the dream of a postsecondary education within reach.

Helping students find the right institution is one way we can make a difference. Yesterday the House passed with strong bipartisan support the Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act. The legislation will arm students with the best information available in a format that is easy to understand, information that includes key facts such as an institution’s costs, completion rates, and student loan debt.

Students and families currently face a tsunami of information that is mostly confusing, conflicting, and unnecessary. The bill streamlines the information and how it is delivered, enabling students to be smart shoppers in the college marketplace.

However, picking an institution is only half the challenge. Families then have to figure out how to pay for it, and far too many are unprepared to make those tough decisions. Some students choose loans and debt when other assistance in the form of grants and scholarships are readily available. And those that do opt for student loans often have no real concept of what they’re getting into or what it means for their future.

Clearly current policies promoting financial literacy are coming up short. That is why I am pleased to support the Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act. The bipartisan legislation includes a series of reforms that will help students and families make wise financial decisions about their postsecondary education.

For example, the bill ensures borrowers – both students and parents – receive annual counseling that reflects their personal situations and requires consent each year before receiving a federal loan. The legislation also makes sure low-income individuals who rely on Pell Grants are informed about the terms and conditions of their grant.

The bill also delivers more robust counseling upon graduation, requiring that information on a borrower’s loan balance and anticipated monthly payments be provided. Finally, the legislation directs the Secretary of Education to maintain a consumer-tested, online counseling tool that will help institutions put this important information into the hands of those who need it.

This legislation is part of a broader effort to strengthen our nation’s higher education. Neither this bill nor the bills passed earlier this week are a silver bullet to challenges we face. However, by working together, we can begin to make a difference in the lives of students and families. That is precisely what the House is doing.

I want to thank the bipartisan authors of the legislation, Representatives Brett Guthrie, Richard Hudson, and Suzanne Bonamici. I urge my colleagues to support the bill and reserve the balance of my time.

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Move by Biotech Company Tees Up Court Consideration of Attorneys’-Fee Clause in Corporate Bylaws

WLF Legal Pulse - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 4:28pm
The Wall Street Journal Law Blog reported today that Philadelphia-based (but Delaware-incorporated) biotechnology company Hemispherx BioPharm Inc. has injected itself into the middle of a growing dispute over attorneys’ fees in shareholder class action lawsuits. (A hat-tip to the Institute for Legal Reform, whose must-read daily email referenced the WSJ Law Blog piece) Prompted by […]
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Kline Statement: H.R. 5076, the Enhancing Services for Runaway and Homeless Victims of Youth Trafficking Act

Education & the Workforce Committee - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 12:00am

Each year an estimated 300,000 innocent children fall victim to sex trafficking right here in the United States. The victims can be homeless or runaway youth; others are simply taken from their parents in the blink of an eye. The victims’ families are our neighbors, friends, and loved ones.

As a father of two and grandfather of four, for me it is impossible to fathom the pain and suffering they must feel, knowing their son or daughter is trapped in a modern-day slave trade filled with darkness and hopelessness. While we will never fully comprehend the grief these families are forced to bear, we can as a nation fight this heinous crime with every tool available.

There are heroic efforts underway right now to locate victims of youth sex trafficking and return them to their families. Last week, the Education and the Workforce Committee had an opportunity to hear from John Ryan, head of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The center plays a vital role in a national effort to protect vulnerable youth, leading a partnership among law enforcement, government agencies, and private ventures like Honeywell, Google, and Lifetouch.

In my home state of Minnesota, the center has helped resolve cases involving 1,699 endangered runaways and 373 family abductions. The center’s 24-hour CyberTipline has provided law enforcement more than two million leads of child sexual exploitation.

The center and its staff provide an invaluable service to families; they stand on the front lines of this critical battle each and every day. Despite these and other achievements, we know more can be done to protect our most vulnerable youth.

Right now many kids are falling through the cracks of child welfare systems. Often they are not properly identified as sex trafficking victims when they enter the system and are then lost in the shuffle once they are in state custody. And too often runaway and homeless youth who are victims of sex trafficking do not receive the special help they need.

That is why I strongly support this legislation, which will enhance existing services for runaway and homeless youth. I am also proud to support legislation we will consider in just a few moments that will improve how state child welfare systems identify and respond to victims of youth sex trafficking. Finally, we will also consider legislation that ensures victims are properly identified when reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children CyberTipline.

Mister Speaker, we have to do more to address this national crisis. The bills the House is considering today move our country in the right direction. I am humbled to help lead this bipartisan effort and urge my colleagues to support the legislation.

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Video Release: Kline Urges Support for Victims of Youth Trafficking

Education & the Workforce Committee - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 12:00am
The House of Representatives today debated bipartisan legislation to strengthen support for victims of youth sex trafficking. The proposals would enhance existing aid for runaway and homeless youth and improve identification and assessment of child sex trafficking victims. House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) discussed the urgent need to assist victims of youth sex trafficking: 

 

Each year an estimated 300,000 innocent children fall victim to sex trafficking right here in the United States. The victims can be homeless or runaway youth; others are simply taken from their parents in the blink of an eye. The victims’ families are our neighbors, friends, and loved ones.

As a father of two and grandfather of four, for me it is impossible to fathom the pain and suffering they must feel, knowing their son or daughter is trapped in a modern-day slave trade filled with darkness and hopelessness. While we will never fully comprehend the grief these families are forced to bear, we can as a nation fight this heinous crime with every tool available.

To read Chairman Kline’s full remarks, click here.

To learn more about bipartisan efforts to strengthen support for victims of youth sex trafficking, click here.

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House Passes Legislation to Support Innovation, Strengthen Transparency in Higher Education

Education & the Workforce Committee - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 12:00am
The House of Representatives today approved two bipartisan legislative proposals that will spur innovation and strengthen transparency in higher education. The bills are part of a broader effort to improve postsecondary education through reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

“I am pleased the House has advanced bipartisan reforms to strengthen our nation’s higher education system,” said House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN). “Over the last several weeks, we’ve worked to find areas of common ground that would help more Americans realize the dream of a postsecondary education. By supporting innovation and strengthening transparency, these legislative efforts will make a difference in the lives of students and families. I urge our Senate colleagues to send these bipartisan bills to the president’s desk without delay.”

Authored by Representative Matt Salmon (R-AZ) and cosponsored by Reps. Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Jared Polis (D-CO), the Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act (H.R. 3136):
  • Promotes innovation in higher education by directing the secretary of education to implement competency-based education demonstration projects.
                                                                                                
  • Provides accountability by requiring an annual evaluation of each demonstration project to determine program quality.
                                                                                              
  • Delivers greater flexibility to institutions that want to provide students a more personalized, cost-effective education.

H.R. 3136 passed the House by a vote of 414 to 0. To learn more about the bill, click here

Authored by Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and cosponsored by Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN) and John Kline (R-MN), the Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act (H.R. 4983)

  • Requires the secretary of education to create a consumer-tested College Dashboard that would display key information students need when deciding which school to attend.
                                  
  • Instructs the secretary to provide a link to the page of each institution listed on a student’s FAFSA to make sure students know this information is available.
            
  • Streamlines and eliminates unnecessary information and federal transparency initiatives.

H.R. 4983 passed the House by voice vote. To learn more about the bill, click here.

Earlier today, the House also passed legislation (H.R. 5134) introduced by Rep. Foxx that would extend the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity and the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance for one year.

To learn more about the committee’s effort to reform the Higher Education Act, visit http://edworkforce.house.gov/highered/ 

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Kline Statement: H.R. 3136, the Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act

Education & the Workforce Committee - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 12:00am

Across the country, millions of college students are getting ready to start the school year. They will soon say goodbye to family and friends and pursue their dream of a postsecondary education. Unfortunately, many Americans are struggling to turn that dream into reality.

The higher education system we know today is too costly, too bureaucratic, and outdated. Some are having a hard time fitting the traditional college experience into a busy lifestyle that already includes work, family, or both. Others are graduating with a pile of debt and no job prospects.

A college degree can open the door to a bright and prosperous future, yet too often obstacles stand in the way. Ultimately states and institutions must provide the answers students and families need, but Congress has a role to play as well.

First and foremost, we need to continue promoting policies that will get this economy moving again, so every college graduate who wants a job can find a job. We can also adopt commonsense reforms that will improve our higher education system.

Today the House will begin to do just that. We have an opportunity right now to advance reforms that will support innovation and empower students to make informed decisions about their college careers. H.R. 3136 is the first step in that effort.

The bipartisan Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act will allow institutions to expand an innovative approach to higher education, known as competency-based education.

This model of education defines a set of skills for a field of work and then measures student progress in acquiring those skills. Once a student demonstrates a level of skill or competency, he or she can move to the next step in the academic program.

Instead of awarding a student credit hours for time spent in class, competency-based education allows a student to learn at a pace tailored to his or her specific needs. If you’re a single mom, you may need more time to complete your degree while juggling the demands of work and kids. Or if you’re a dad out of a job with a family to support, four years sitting in a classroom is time you do not have.

Competency-based education holds tremendous promise. It allows students to earn a degree in less time and even at a lower cost than in a traditional education setting. Yet it is difficult for institutions to expand this innovative model under a system that values time over learning.

H.R. 3136 will help us move in a different direction. The legislation directs the secretary of education to authorize a number of demonstration projects to test and strengthen competency-based education.

Among other provisions, the legislation requires the secretary to focus on programs that are designed to reduce costs and the time it takes to earn a degree. The bill requires a thorough evaluation of each demonstration project so policymakers learn which programs demonstrate success and what specific roadblocks are standing in the way.

Mister Speaker, this is a good bill that will help make a difference in the lives of students and families. I want to thank the bipartisan authors of the legislation, Representatives Matt Salmon, Jared Polis, and Susan Brooks. I urge my colleagues to support the bill and reserve the balance of my time.

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