Massachusetts Disability/Autism Advocates Update on Legislation

I am a member of the AANE Advocacy Committee, and that committee is now following a fairly large number of bills that are before the Massachusetts General Court.

Two of the bills are ones that we helped introduce (description and links at the end of this post). These and three others have been designated as legislative priorities by AFAM:

  1. An Act establishing an integrated confidential data system among state agencies to track diagnosis, treatment, services and outcome of individuals with autism
  2. An Act to promote housing creation… (evidently not yet assigned a bill number)
  3. An Act to increase capacity to address the complex needs of students with autism (the “autism endorsement” for teachers) 

In addition, there are several other bills of interest, and the Committee has not yet decided how or whether to actively support these (and others). Many of the bills mentioned in this post exist in identical forms in both the House and the Senate, and will presumably get combined. Most bills have been assigned to Committees, but very few hearing dates have as yet been set.

And this only scratches the surface of bills that relate to disabilities and to increasing revenue for the programs we care about. It’s going to be a busy year!

We had a hand in crafting two bills alluded to at the beginning of this post (and which I described in some detail in an earlier post):

Bill H.78

Referred to Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities & Bill S.908 Referred to Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse

An Act to permit the Department of Developmental Services provide services to adults with developmental disabilities

Bill H.1794 & Bill S.909 Referred to Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse

An Act to ensure full and equal access to services from the Department of Mental Health for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and related conditions who otherwise meet the eligibility criteria for the Department of Mental Health Services


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