The Arc New Jersey has advocated for three bills recently signed by Governor Chris Christie:
- A3267/S2519 allows taxpayers to donate to an “Autism Programs Fund,” which will be used exclusively for the support of service-oriented autism programs, through their tax returns;
- A2786/S1474 requires six credits of special education to receive a teaching certificate and an unspecified number of credits of training on students with autism and comprehensive evidence-based instructional practices to address their educational strengths and needs in order receive a special education endorsement;
- A3411/S1830 requires the New Jersey Department of Health to align its regulations on lead exposure with those of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Additionally, The chapter secured passage in both houses of A3432/S1825, which creates a task force to study and make recommendations on mobility and support service needs of adults with autism. The bill now awaits Governor Christie’s signature.
The Arc Maryland and other organizations in the Developmental Disability Coalition recently hosted Developmental Disabilities Day at the State Capitol. There was a record turnout with 725 advocates in attendance. Governor Larry Hogan attended the event to discuss his budget and his experience with a man with Down Syndrome who supported him while they were both receiving cancer treatment. Advocates from The Arc Maryland also recently testified in favor of SB 475, the Crisis Resolution Waiting List bill, and the Maryland State Department of Education budget for increasing Autism Waiver slots. Earlier that week, The Arc Maryland provided testimony in favor in HB 644, the Independent Living Tax Credit Act.
The Arc Maryland is busy this legislative session with testimony provided or planned on 36 bills. They are supporting twenty-five, supporting six with amendments, opposing four, and monitoring one. In the week of February 6, they testified in favor of HB 1, the Maryland Healthy Families Act, which requires employers of more than 15 employees to provide paid sick leave; SB 180, the Independent Living Tax Credit Act, which provides a tax credit for improving home accessibility; HB 197, Peyton’s Bill, which provides grants to public schools for technology that allows students who couldn’t otherwise attend school to attend remotely; HB 174, which gives parents the right to give or withhold consent on certain IEP decisions and requires the schools to file for due process if they disagree; and SJR2, which rescinds Maryland’s application for a Convention to propose amendments to the United States Constitution pursuant to Article V.
As a result of The Arc Michigan’s advocacy efforts, along with others in the disability community, the state of Michigan recently launched it’s ABLE program. Find out more about how to open an account here.