Bill Text


PDF |Add To My Favorites | print page

AB-2116 Special education.(2013-2014)

SHARE THIS:share this bill in Facebookshare this bill in Twitter
AB2116:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2013–2014 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 2116


Introduced by Assembly Member Wagner

February 20, 2014


An act to amend Section 56507 of the Education Code, relating to special education.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2116, as introduced, Wagner. Special education.
Existing law requires that every individual with exceptional needs, as defined, who is eligible, be provided with educational instruction, services, or both, at no cost to his or her parent or guardian or, as appropriate, to him or her. A free appropriate public education is required to be made available to individuals with exceptional needs in accordance with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and regulations adopted pursuant to that act. The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act authorizes a United States district court, in its discretion, to award reasonable attorney’s fees as part of costs to a prevailing party who is the parent of a child with a disability in certain actions or proceedings, or to a prevailing state educational agency or local educational agency against the attorney of a parent in certain circumstances. State law references the attorney’s fees provisions of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
This bill would make nonsubstantive changes to the state law reference to the attorney’s fees provisions of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 56507 of the Education Code is amended to read:

56507.
 (a) If either party to a due process hearing intends to be represented by an attorney in the state hearing, notice of that intent shall be given to the other party at least 10 days prior to before the hearing. The failure to provide that notice shall constitute good cause for a continuance.
(b) (1) An award of reasonable attorney’s fees to the prevailing parent, guardian, or pupil, as the case may be, may only be made either with the agreement of the parties following the conclusion of the administrative hearing process or by a court of competent jurisdiction pursuant to Section 1415(i)(3) of Title 20 of the United States Code.
(2) In accordance with Section 1415(i)(3) of Title 20 of the United States Code, the court, in its discretion, may award reasonable attorney’s fees as part of the costs to a prevailing party who is a state educational agency or local educational agency in any of the following circumstances:
(A) Against the attorney of a parent who files a due process hearing request or subsequent cause of action that is frivolous, unreasonable, or without foundation, or against the attorney of a parent who continued to litigate after the litigation clearly became frivolous, unreasonable, or without foundation.
(B) Against the attorney of a parent, or against the parent, if the parent’s due process hearing request or subsequent cause of action was presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass, to cause unnecessary delay, or to needlessly increase the cost of litigation.
(c) Public agencies shall not use federal funds distributed under Part B of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1400 et seq.), or other federal special education funds, for the agency’s own legal counsel or other advocacy costs, that may include, but are not limited to, a private attorney or employee of an attorney, legal paraprofessional, or other paid advocate, related to a due process hearing or the appeal of a hearing decision to the courts. Funds shall not be used to reimburse parents who prevail and are awarded attorney’s fees, pursuant to subdivision (b), as part of the judgment. Nothing in this This subdivision shall does not preclude public agencies from using these funds for attorney services related to the establishment of policy and programs, or responsibilities, under Part B of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1400 et seq.) and the program administration of these programs. This subdivision does not apply to attorneys and others hired under contract to conduct administrative hearings pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 56505.
(d) The hearing decision shall indicate the extent to which each party has prevailed on each issue heard and decided, including issues involving other public agencies named as parties to the hearing.