Legislative Priorities 2016
Senate Bill No. 708
An Act relative to the development and preservation of affordable housing for persons with disabilities and the elderly
Sponsors: Senator Barbara L’Italien
This bill will provide creation of long-term housing for people with disabilities or seniors through the development of 2 bedroom accessory apartments. The creation of the long-term housing apartments will allow family members and additional property owners to receive a loan of $50,000 or half of construction costs to transfer for a long-term deed restriction.
House Bill No. 4040
An Act expanding inclusive transition programs for students with severe disabilities
Sponsors: Representative Tom Sannicandro, Senator Barbara L’Italien
This bill is critical for supporting students with Intellectual Disability (ID) or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the higher academic learning arena. This bill addresses the findings & recommendations of the Joint Task Force on Higher Education for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (ID) and/or autism (ASD). This Task Force noted that limited access to inclusive higher education has resulted in too many individuals with disabilities being left behind their non-disabled peers in employment, socialization, and higher academic learning.
This legislation expands the Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment grant program, supporting partnerships between high schools and public institutions of higher education in order to include students. The bill also provides consideration of higher education for older students through the special education process.
Senate Bill No. 1046
An Act to ensure full and equal access to services from the Department of Mental Health for individuals with autism spectrum disorders and related conditions who otherwise meet the eligibility criteria for DMH services
Sponsors: Senator L’Italien
DMH will provide emergency, crisis, acute care, and ongoing treatment and support for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and related conditions, who otherwise meet the eligibility criteria for DMH services. These services will be designed to meet the needs of individuals with (ASD) and related conditions and services will be provided by clinicians who have training and expertise in (ASD). For individuals with (ASD) or a related condition who have co-occurring mental health issues, DMH will work closely with DDS to determine the responsible agency for delivery of service.
Senate Bill No. 1180
An Act to increase current medical providers' knowledge about autism in order to improve the treatment individuals with autism receive in medical settings
Sponsor: Senator Barbara L’Italien
This bill is aimed at expanding medical providers’ knowledge about autism and tasks DPH with designing a program to provide specialized training on autism for medical providers and subsequently establishing a pilot program to develop an “autism team”. The team will be knowledgeable on autism and the communication difficulties of people with autism and would be called upon to assist doctors and medical staff when individuals with autism enter the emergency room, need x-rays or tests, or are going to be admitted to the hospital.
Senate Bill No. 1629
An Act to provide equal access to medical treatments essential for people with autism
Lead Sponsor: Senator Barbara L’Italien
This bill would require MassHealth to cover habilitative or rehabilitative medically necessary treatments for individuals with autism aged 22 and older, including but not limited to Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, as well as coverage for augmentative and alternative communication devices.