Grisamore’s Missouri Autism Projects Legislation Signed into State Law by Governor Nixon
Governor Jay Nixon signs House Bill 525 into law as Representative Grisamore observes.
JEFFERSON CITY – Legislation sponsored by Representative Jeff Grisamore, R-Lee’s Summit / Greenwood , to place the five existing regional autism projects into state law was signed by the governor this week. Rep. Grisamore spoke to the press and autism advocates in Governor Nixon’s Capitol office while the Governor signed House Bill 525 into law on Wednesday.
The five regional autism projects (Central, East, Northwest, Southeast and Southwest), which are currently included in the Code of State Regulations, will be placed into state statute under House Bill 525 and it’s companion Senate bill (SB 157).
The Missouri Autism Projects are run by the Missouri Department of Mental Health’s Division of Developmental Disabilities in cooperation and partnership with regional Parent Advisory Councils (PACs) and a newly created statewide Missouri Parents Advisory Committee on Autism.
Rep. Grisamore indicated the legislation is important to allow the state to continue to provide Autism Spectrum Disorder services to approximately 2,500 families statewide that are served by the Missouri Autism Projects.
“This is such an important piece of legislation because it is family driven. It is a public-private partnership between families of children with autism and the state of Missouri . I’m thankful for the expanded opportunity to serve children with autism and their families, recognizing autism is an exponentially expanding situation in Missouri with incidence going from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 150,” said Rep. Grisamore.
Rep. Grisamore’s bill specifies that each regional parent advisory council includes seven to nine individuals who have family members with autism, including young children, school-age children and adults. The committee members will be appointed by the division director and must submit an annual report to the Missouri Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorders, the Governor, and the department and division directors.
The Missouri Autism Projects legislation builds upon a growing body of disabilities-related legislation that he sponsored in the House, including previous legislation to form the Missouri Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorders and the Missouri Office of Autism Services.
Rep. Grisamore has also sponsored legislation the last two legislative sessions to ensure health insurance coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism. Efforts to require health insurance coverage for autism dominated questioning from the press following the signing of House Bill 525.
“I am very hopeful and optimistic that we will get an autism insurance bill passed next year as the Speaker of the House has expressed his willingness to allow such a bill to the floor next year for a vote where we clearly have the votes for passage.”
The Senate passed such a bill 29 to 2 this year, but similar legislation Rep. Grisamore also sponsored was blocked from reaching the House floor for a vote.
“We will continue the fight to end the discrimination against children with autism and their families and ensure that they have coverage like children with most other conditions from juvenile diabetes to ADHD,” said Rep. Grisamore.
With the governor’s signature, Rep. Grisamore’s HB 525 now goes into effect on August 28 of this year.