Thursday, October 15, 2009

New Website!!!!!

Many Thanks to Matt McGhie for building our NEW website...........

Please go to: www.utahautismcoalition.org

Thursday, September 24, 2009

After a short August recess, Autism Votes is back and we need your help RIGHT NOW to ensure Congress ends autism insurance discrimination!

In a few hours, the Senate Finance Committee will vote on an amendment to the Committee's version of the health care reform bill (the America's Healthy Future Act of 2009) introduced by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) specifying that the basic benefits package must provide coverage of behavioral health treatments. If passed, this amendment will be a major step forward towards ending autism insurance discrimination from coast to coast.

The good news is the Chair of the Committee, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) supports this amendment! We need your help RIGHT NOW to ensure that the members of the Senate Finance Committee support Sen. Menendez's amendment and make sure that individuals with autism do not fall through the cracks during this great debate over health care. Bottom line: any health care reform bill that does not end autism insurance discrimination is unacceptable!

Here's how you can help

1. SENATOR BAUCUS, CHAIR OF THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE SUPPORTS THE AMENDMENT! CALL SENATOR BAUCUS AND THANK HIM FOR HIS SUPPORT.
Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) (Chairman) - (202) 224-4515

2. CALL THE MEMBERS OF THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE LISTED BELOW AND TELL THEM TO SUPPORT THE MENENDEZ AMENDMENT FOR INCLUSION OF BEHAVIORAL HEALTH TREATMENTS!
Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV - (202) 224-6472
Sen. Jeff Bingaman - (202) 224-5521
Sen. John Kerry - (202) 224-2742
Sen. Ron Wyden - (202) 224-5244
Sen. Charles Schumer - (202) 224-6542
Sen. Debbie Stabenow - (202) 224-4822
Sen. Maria Cantwell (202) 244-3441
Sen. Bill Nelson - (202) 244-5274
Sen. Thomas Carper - (202) 224-2441

Not sure of what to say?

Say this:"Hi, my name is __________ and I live in (City, State). I would like to let Senator (name) know that I believe that any healthcare reform bill that does not end autism insurance discrimination is unacceptable and that I would like him/her to support the amendment put forth by Senator Menendez that seeks to end autism insurance discrimination. Thank you so much."

3. FORWARD THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW THAT CAN HELP MAKE THESE PHONE CALLS. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, therapists, teachers, coworkers and neighbors - anyone who has ever said that they wished there was something they could do to help your child with autism. They can do this. They can help you end autism insurance discrimination so that you can get your child the therapy and treatment that they need.Working together we can effectively end autism insurance discrimination for all the children from coast to coast!

For more information, visit our website at www.autismvotes.org.

Sincerely,
Shelley Hendrix
Director of State Advocacy Relations, Government Relations
Autism Speaks

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Raise Awareness to Congress - This Week!!!


This week, Autism Speaks is launching a major ad campaign supporting federal autism insurance reform!

Our goal is to be the loudest group on Capitol Hill this week. To accomplish this, we have launched this ad campaign in various publications to raise awareness about the need for Congress to act on federal autism insurance reform and for members of Congress to become cosponsors of the Autism Treatment Acceleration Act (ATAA). A key provision of the ATAA requires insurance companies from coast to coast to provide coverage of medically necessary autism treatments, such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy.
We need your help to make sure this ad hits home for your federal legislators! Help us make sure that they see this ad over and over again and hear from families and friends of families affected by autism each day this week!

Here is How YOU Can Help:
1. Please download and print out a copy of the Autism Speaks ATAA ad HERE!
2. Fax a copy of the ad to your federal Senators and House representative!
After printing out a copy of our ad, find a good spot on the ad itself, or on a separate sheet of paper, to write a short personal message asking your Senators and House Representative to cosponsor this bill, be sure to include the bill number - S.819 in the Senate and H.R. 2413 in the House.
Fax to our federal legislators at the fax numbers below:
Sen. Orrin Hatch - (202) 224-6331
Sen. Robert Bennett - (202) 228-1168
Rep. Jim Matheson - (202) 225-5638 District Map
Rep. Rob Bishop - (202) 225-5857 District Map
Rep. Jason Chaffetz - (202) 225-5629 District Map

3. Follow up with a phone call to our federal legislators!
Sen. Orrin Hatch Phone: (202) 224-5251
Sen. Robert Bennett Phone: (202) 224-5444
Rep. Jim Matheson Phone: (202) 225-3011 District Map
Rep. Rob Bishop Phone: (202) 225-0453 District Map
Rep. Jason Chaffetz Phone: (202) 225-7751 District Map


If you aren't sure of what to say when you call, say this:"Hi. My name is ________________. I am your constituent and live in (City, STATE). I am calling to be sure that you received a copy of the advertisement that I faxed to your office regarding the Autism Treatment Acceleration Act. I would like Senator/Congressman (Name) to cosponsor this important piece of legislation. The bill number is S. 819 (if you are calling a Senator) or H.R. 2413 (if you are calling a House Representative). Thank you so much. I will keep checking back to see if he/she has signed on because this is very important to me."

4. Forward this to 20 people and ask them to do the same thing! They do not have to have a child with autism. Post on message boards in your state or forward to coworkers, neighbors, friends and family and ask them to help you help your child by pressing for appropriate insurance coverage for the premiums you pay! Spread the word, get people involved and watch your politicians really start to sign up to help!
For more information on the Autism Treatment Acceleration Act, visit www.autismvotes.org/ATAA. To continue receiving alerts about this issue and other pertinent issues in your state, register at www.autismvotes.org! Working together they will hear our community. Working together, we make autism insurance discrimination a thing of the past!




View ad here

Friday, June 12, 2009

Autism Treatment Acceleration Act - Call/Email Now!

As most of you're probably aware, the Autism Treatment Acceleration Act has been introduced in Congress. We really need to get our Utah Senators and Representatives in Congress to cosponsor this very important bill - especially Senator Orrin Hatch who sits on the HELP committee.

If we can get the ATAA bill passed, we will NOT have to re-introduce Clay's Law next legislative session, and ALL insurance companies would be required to cover medically necessary autism treatments. This bill is extremely important to autism families not only in Utah, but all across the country.

Our cumulative nationwide goal is to have a total of 60 Senators and 200 Congressmen signed onto the ATAA by the end of the month - aggressive, but doable if we all work together.

Here's how YOU can help:

1. CALL YOUR SENATORS IN CONGRESS AND ASK THEM TO CO-SPONSOR THE ATAA (Senate Bill 819)! You can find who your senators are HERE.

2. CALL YOUR CONGRESSMAN AND ASK THEM TO CO-SPONSOR THE ATAA (H.R. 2413)! You can find out who your Congressman is HERE.

Not sure of what to say? It's easy! Just say this:

"Hi! My name is _________. I'm a constituent of yours and live in (city, state). I am calling to ask you to cosponsor the Autism Treatment Acceleration Act (give appropriate bill number - Senate is S. 819 and House is H.R. 2413). We worked very hard to pass similar legislation in our state but were not able to do so this session. We need your help to end autism insurance discriminatino. Thank you so much." Once you've completed your call, you can send emails to the Members of Congress HERE!

3. FORWARD THIS TO 20 OTHER PEOPLE THAT CAN HELP YOU! If you have ever heard someone say, "I wish there was something we could do to help (insert your child's name here)!" now they can. It is a cost effective way to truly help your child and the other children with autism not only in your state, but nationwide.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Federal Legislation and Autism Speaks Walk

Today is World Autism Awareness Day. Please take a moment today to make legislators aware of our need for Autism Insurance Reform. President Obama drafted legislation before the election that would require health insurance coverage for autism treatments. Today, that legislation was introduced into the US Senate. I will be including a brief article below with more information about it. You can take action and contact your US legislators by going here to send your legislator an email asking for their support: http://www.autismvotes.org/c.frKNI3PCImE/b.5065905/k.BCED/Take_Action_on_the_ATAA_Bill/siteapps/advocacy/ActionItem.aspx

Also, below the article is an letter to you from your Autism Speaks Walk Chair - Tricia Nelson. Please support the Autism Speaks Walk by forming a team or joining a team. Autism Speaks is the main supporter of Autism Insurance Reform around the country. Funds raised at the walk help pay for the lobby efforts to gain insurance coverage for our children.

Happy Advocating!!!

Autism Treatment Acceleration Act of 2009 - Federal Autism Insurance Reform

In his Presidential campaign statement on Autism Spectrum Disorders, then-Senator Barack Obama committed to bringing autism insurance reform to our entire nation. His statement put forth that Obama and Biden "will mandate insurance coverage of autism treatment and will also continue to work with parents, physicians, providers, researchers, and schools to create opportunities and effective solutions for people with ASD." In an effort to put his words into action President Obama has asked Illinois Senate colleague Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), along with Senator Robert Casey (D-PA) and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) to introduce comprehensive autism legislation, including a section addressing broad based federal autism insurance reform. The legislation, entitled the “Autism Treatment Acceleration Act of 2009” (ATAA) contains a total of twelve sections, each putting forth a different program for autism. A key feature of the bill is Section 12, which contains the provisions for federal reform of autism insurance coverage. If passed, Section 12 will require all insurance companies across the country to provide coverage for evidence-based, medically-necessary autism treatments and therapies.The Autism Treatment Acceleration Act

Dear Parents,
As you may know, autism is a serious developmental disability that affects 1 in 133 children in Utah, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. Autism is a spectrum disorder that can range from very mild to quite severe. If your child is diagnosed with autism, early intervention is critical to gain the maximum benefit from existing therapies.Autism Speaks is a national non-profit organization that is dedicated to funding global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and cure for autism; to raising public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families, and society; and to bringing hope to all who deal with the hardships of this disorder. We are committed to raising the funds necessary to support these goals.
Autism Speaks aims to bring the autism community together as one strong voice to urge the government and private sector to listen to our concerns and take action to address this urgent global health crisis. It is our firm belief that, working together, we will find the missing pieces of the puzzle.Utah is participating in the 2nd annual Walk Now for Autism in Utah on May 2nd at Utah Valley University in Orem. Autism Speaks’ Walk Now for Autism, the nation’s largest grassroots autism walk program, is our signature fundraising and awareness event.Powered by volunteers and families with loved ones on the autism spectrum, this successful grassroots fundraising effort not only generates vital funds for autism research, but also raises awareness about the increasing prevalence of autism and the need for increased research funding to combat this complex disorder. Bring your family, friends and neighbors and join us for this family-friendly event! We will have activities for children, bounce houses, clowns, entertainment and much more. Sign up atwww.walknowforautism.org/utah and create a team. Your team can not only raise vital funds for autism research, but gain much needed awareness in the community. Please feel free to contact me with any questions! Tricia Nelson or Becky Brady (801)224-5127
Walk Now for Autism – 2009 Chair School Outreach Chair
jasonandtricia@hotmail.com bbunchmom@comcast.net
www.walknowforautism.org/utah
www.autismspeaks.org

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Contact your legislators / Meeting Thursday Night

We all needed a short break after the legislative session ended to reconnect with our families and reflect on how Clay's Law was treated by the legislature. We are now trying to map out our strategy for the interim and the next legislative session.

This is what we need to get going on right now.
1. Contact your legislators and let them know of your extreme disappointment that Clay's Law didn't pass. Politely ask them to take a more active roll in supporting Clay's Law next session.
2. Contact Speaker Clark and politely tell him that you are disappointed that Clay's Law was never released from the House Rules Committee for a vote.
3. Write letters to the editor or op-eds to your local newspapers as well as Deseret News and The Salt Lake Tribune.
4. Please put your feelers out there in the autism community to find more people who are willing to support Autism Legislation in the future. We have to be a bigger and stronger coalition next year. We need to show the legislature that we are not going away, in fact, we are getting a louder voice. Please help us by asking everyone you know to register with us.

The Utah Autism Coalition will be holding a meeting on Thursday evening at 7pm. We are meeting at the West Jordan Library at 1970 West 7800 South, West Jordan.
Some of the information to be covered is:
- How the legislative session ended for Clay's Law.
- Plans for the interim and the future of The Utah Autism Coalition.
- What you can do to help over the next nine months.
Please join us to participate in the discussions to help us set the stage for getting Clay's Law passed next legislative session.

Thank you for keeping up the fight!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

More information coming on the sad turn of events...

Please be patient with us as we work to disseminate information on the events that occurred over the past few days which ended hopes for passing Clay's Law this legislative session. 

Another amendment forces us to withdraw support for SB43

PRESS RELEASE

UTAH AUTISM COALITION WITHDRAWS SUPPORT FROM RECENTLY AMENDED SENATE BILL 43

SB 43 has been stripped of its effectiveness to stop autism insurance discrimination

SALT LAKE CITY (March 10, 2009) – The Utah Autism Coalition, the largest autism advocacy group in Utah, announced today they are withdrawing their support for Senate Bill 43, formerly known as Clay’s Law.

Senate Bill 43 was significantly altered to become an amendment to the HIP Act (Health Insurance Pool) that creates a limited insurance policy to cover the treatment of autism spectrum disorders, when obtained prior to a child’s birth. Senate Bill 43, formerly known as Clay’s Law, originated as an autism insurance mandate to require private insurance companies to cover diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders up to age 17. SB 43 was amended before the third senate reading to a mandate option, and has now been amended even further as a HIP offering.

“Clay’s Law” no longer exists in this legislative session. Our elected officials have failed to act upon the cries for help from their constituents to provide desperately needed treatment for their children, and the pleas of taxpayers for financial relief to the state,” said Leeann Whiffen, mother of Clay Whiffen, who requested that Clay’s name be removed from the bill. “Senate Bill 43 is now a far cry from the financially and morally responsible bill we created. The window of opportunity for optimal treatment will likely close for many children who currently have autism across our state while we agonizingly wait for lawmakers to do the right thing.” The latest version of SB43 will only benefit children who have yet to be born, and only if their parents purchase a policy before 3 months of age.

Autism Speaks, the largest national autism organization, joins the Utah Autism Coalition in withdrawing support for SB 43. "It's the No. 1 thing we hear from parents - what's more difficult than knowing there's an effective treatment for your children, but you can't afford to offer it to them because it's not covered by insurance?" said Elizabeth Emken, the group's vice president of government relations. “Autism Speaks and the Utah Autism Coalition call on Utah’s legislators to join the growing number of states that have ended healthcare discrimination against children with autism.”
The Utah Autism Coalition will continue advocating for autism insurance coverage in Utah until it eventually becomes law.

About Autism
Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by behavioral challenges. Autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed in one in 150 children in the United States, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The prevalence of autism has increased tenfold in the last decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.

About Utah Autism Coalition
The Utah Autism Coalition, founded in 2008, is an independent group of parents and professionals dedicated to increasing autism awareness and advocating for legislation to support the autism community in Utah. To learn more about the Utah Autism Coalition, please visit www.utautismcoalition.blogspot.com.


# # #

Monday, March 2, 2009

Call Your Representative ASAP!

Lets Give It One Last Push!

The Legislative session ends on March 12th. That is less than two weeks away. So don't give up on us now!

Today Senate Bill 43 - Clay's Law, was read into the House of Representatives. It is our understanding that we may not have to have another committee hearing in the House because there is so little time left in the session. Our bill could go for a vote on the House floor this week. We need to make sure that we all speak to our representatives ASAP. Please call them, even if you just leave a message. Send them an email with your child's picture attached to it. We need to make sure that they are hearing our personal stories of autism before they vote on Clay's Law. Once we know the date of the vote, we will let you know as soon as possible.

If you don't know who your Representative is, you can find out by entering your address at www.votesmart.org.
Contact information for each Representative can be found here: http://www.le.state.ut.us/house/members/membertable1add.asp

Thank you for all your help and support so far. We could not do this with out each and every one of you.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Monday Night Meeting

A lot has transpired with Clay's Law over the past two days. We once again thank everyone who came to the Candlelight Vigil on Thursday and to the Senate gallery on Friday. We're sorry the vote was delayed until 3:55pm, and many who came left disappointed. In order to explain the direction the Utah legislature is headed with healthcare reform (as best we can) and its affects on Clay's Law, we are hosting another meeting on Monday night. We encourage you to attend and appreciate everyone's input. Our last meeting generated a great and respectful debate and helped us make some some tough decisions.


Where: The Tyler Library in Midvale. 8041 S. Wood Street (55 West), Midvale, 84047

When: Monday Night at 7:00pm (STRICT rule: We have to be out of the building by 8:45pm so the meeting has to end at 8:30)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Clay's Law Amendment Explanation

Today, we have had many discussions with Senator Howard Stephenson and Autism Speaks regarding the new amendments to Clay’s Law. Thus, the vote was delayed until this afternoon. We apologize to those supporters who came this morning for the vote. We have been working extremely hard to understand these amendments and how they affect access to insurance coverage for autism. We have learned that these amendments are necessary due to the imminent passage of HB 188, or the “Mandate Light” bill. Mandate Light is unique to Utah and will give employers the opportunity to choose which state mandates they carry in the policy and which ones they do not.

The new amendments to Clay’s Law now allow autism coverage to be included in the list of options along with all other state mandates. It will also be part of the “master-study list” for evaluation during the interim legislative session where the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of this mandate “option” will be evaluated.

We want to make it clear to everyone that the mission of the Utah Autism Coalition is to stand up and fight for all children with Autism Spectrum Disorders through a strong and unified grassroots movement. We do not support the direction the legislature is going with health care reform, but see several advantages of passing Clay’s Law with the new amendments rather than killing the bill and starting over next year.

Passing Clay’s Law will make the legislature take ownership of this issue. If Clay’s Law with the current amendments is deemed ineffective, they will have to act next year to make improvements.
It will give us more lobbying power next year with those legislators that opposed the original version of Clay’s Law.
The next phase of health care reform in Utah (including mandate light bill) will take steps to shift the decision-making over which mandates are included on a policy from the employer to the employee.

Earlier today, Autism Speaks pulled support of Clay’s Law, in large part, because they do not support “Mandate Light” health care reform and mandate “options” insurance policies. They do, however, support our personal decision based upon the health care reform bills that are being passed in Utah. They understand this is the first step in gaining support for autism insurance coverage in Utah due to the effect of the mandate light legislation. We respect Autism Speaks decision and we will continue to work with them to advocate for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Utah and nationally.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

GOP should love Clay's Law

Opinion piece submitted to the Deseret News by Judith Miller, Ph.D.

Senate Bill 43, otherwise known as “Clay’s Law,” would require insurance companies to provide coverage for early intensive behavioral intervention for children with autism. Yes, it’s a mandate, and yes it will cost some money. But the amount of money it will save taxpayers in the long run should please anyone concerned about government spending: This IS the fiscally conservative way to address autism.

The bill proposes we pay a little now, in order to save A LOT later on. Specifically, it will result in a less than 1% increase in insurance premiums. In addition, it requires $1.9 million now to cover the administrative costs to PEHP (state employees’ own health insurance plan). While this is a lot of money, let’s put it in perspective:

Untreated autism is estimated to cost approximately $3 million over the person’s lifetime. Intensive early behavioral intervention (the type covered by the bill) can cut this down by $1 million. That means the bill could pay for itself with the savings from just three or four children.

But the bill would affect many more than three or four children. Autism occurs in 1 out of every 150 children. The insurance companies affected by this bill cover 30% of the state’s population. Thus, approximately 100 children born each year could receive intervention under this bill. For every 100 children treated, families and taxpayers could save $100 million in future care costs. If your financial advisor could get this kind of return on an investment, he would tell you to scrape together every nickel you could find to do it.

And why should medical insurance cover this instead of a state entitlement? Because the intervention we are talking about is a healthcare intervention. It prevents a medical condition (autism) from becoming worse, and works toward restoring normal brain functioning. We use this model to treat strokes and traumatic brain injuries all the time. And like strokes and injuries, treatment is most effective immediately after the injury. In autism, intervention works best when the child is very young and the brain is still “plastic” enough to change. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics recently recommended all children be screened for autism as toddlers.

The fact that this evidence-based treatment is not covered means the vast majority of children cannot access it. The window for dramatic treatment results closes in childhood, and then our families, schools, and eventually the state must pay much more for higher levels of care. Let Health and Human Services cover the costs for treating those who cannot access this through their insurance, or who require support even after intervention has been provided. But whenever possible, health insurance is the appropriate forum to provide this restorative intervention.

Some of our leaders have worried that if we “help” children with autism, then others will come knocking for assistance. A true steward of your tax dollars would enthusiastically welcome a proposal from any group that could result in such dramatic savings for taxpayers.

Utah has a relatively low rate of outmigration compared to other states. People born here generally stay here their entire lives. Our state will benefit directly from providing intervention to our own children, in the form of tremendous savings when these same children enter our schools and then go on to become adults. In a climate of severe budget cuts and concerns, this is EXACTLY the approach our state needs.

Judith Miller, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
University of Utah

This is Dr. Miller’s view from her own personal experience, not on behalf of the University of Utah or other agencies.

It's Crunch Time for Clay's Law

Clay's Law really needs your help. This may be our last opportunity to show legislators the strength and will of the Utah Autism Coalition. We are a unified group that will not stop fighting for equal rights for individuals with autism.

1. We need phone lines to the Senators CLOGGED with calls from Autism Advocates all day Thursday and again Friday morning. Please have everyone you know calling in. It is a powerful point to be made to legislators that we can control the flood of phone calls. We need the phone calls to be ON tomorrow!

2. There will be a Candle Light Vigil on the Capitol steps tomorrow evening from 5pm-7pm. Please bring your whole family, friends and neighbors to the Capitol Rotunda and bring candles. We will walk outside and light our candles together at 6pm. Bring any signs that you have made in support of Clay's Law. We will be able to hold them high during our vigil. Let us be clear... We need a HUGE showing for this vigil. It needs to be the most powerful statement thus far. Our goal is to have 1000 people attend, so please gather your friends and family and let's make it happen. A large attendance will draw media coverage and help carry the momentum into Friday's vote.

When: Thursday, February 26th, 2009
5 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Where: Utah State Capitol (rotunda and south steps)

3. Clay's Law will have it's final Senate vote (3rd reading) on Friday morning between 9am-noon. Please plan to attend and wear red. Please watch the blog for any updated information. WWW.UTautismcoalition.blogspot.com

We have received many emails inquiring about Monday night's meeting. While we would love to answer all of these emails immediately, we simply don’t have time to respond to each one at this time. We want you to know that we are pressing forward with Clay's Law to require health insurance providers to stop discriminating against those with autism. We have decided to not pursue other funding sources that have been offered to us. However, there will be a few amendments to the bill in an effort to address the concerns raised by Senators who voted yes on the last vote. We are still working on those amendments.

Monday, February 23, 2009

URGENT - MEETING TONIGHT

Important Meeting Tonight! The bill is at a crossroads. Your input is essential to the direction in which it goes. The bill will need some necessary amendments. These decisions have to be made immediately. This is only opportunity to be able to discuss it with the whole body of parents that are supporting this bill. We apologize that this is coming with so little notice. Things have been changing hour by hour, but we don't want to make these decisions without your input. Please pass this on to anyone else that would be interested. We want to make sure that everyone knows about it.

Where: Draper City Library. 12400 S. 1136 E. (Pioneer Road)
When: Tonight at 7:00pm (STRICT rule: We have to be out of the building by 8:45pm so the meeting has to end at 8:30)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Time of Vote Uncertain

We still do not know when the vote for the third reading of the bill in the Senate will be. Therefore, it is not necessary for Clay's Laws supporters to show up at the Capitol today. We are very sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you and we will give you an update as soon as we receive one.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

HOLD ON!!!

Check the blog again before the vote tomorrow

We have been working on reconfirming our yes votes for tomorrow. We just don't know if we have them all. We may need to wait until Monday to allow Clay's Law to go to the final Senate vote. We still need to confirm with Senator Stephenson whether we should hold off for now or try to push it through tomorrow.

We will let you know by email and on the blog whether we will go through with the vote tomorrow or not. We are so sorry for any inconvenience that this may cause any of you who have worked hard to change your schedules to make it. We are so thankful for the support that we have received from each and every one of you... But, we HAVE to make sure it will pass before we can go through with the vote.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Yay! Clay's Law passed the first Senate Vote today!!!

We are another step closer to having insurance coverage for autism.

There is a lot to cover in this post. Please be patient with me, it is all very important....

There was a lot of heated debate today before the vote. I will get back to that later in the email.

Here is how the votes went:
17 YEAS 11 NAYS 1 ABSENT

YEAS 17
Bell - Jones - Niederhauser
Valentine - Davis - Knudson
Okerlund - Van Tassell - Goodfellow
Mayne - Robles - Greiner
McCoy - Stephenson - Hinkins
Morgan - Stowell

NAYS 11
Bramble - Hillyard - Liljenquist
Urquhart - Christensen - Jenkins
Madsen - Waddoups - Dayton
Killpack - Romero

ABSENT 1
Buttars

One thing that we were not aware of is the fact that there are two votes in the Senate before it passes and moves on to the House Sub-committee. We don't understand why this is the case but don't have time to worry about it. The LAST Senate vote is Friday from 10am-12pm. We need to make sure that we keep all our "Yes" votes from today. It was clear today that the insurance lobby is working hard to kill this bill. They will not stop and neither will we. Please contact your legislators ASAP and THANK those that voted yes. PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL of those that voted no. Thank them for taking the time to learn about Clay's Law, and encourage them to reconsider.

One Senator told us this morning that he received many hurtful emails and phone calls. He felt as though he was being harassed. We believe that he still could have changed his mind to vote in favor of Clay's Law, but after hearing him speak to us this morning about the emails and phone calls, we knew that it had only solidified his "no" vote. We can't afford to alienate any legislators. Please remember that any negative or emotionally-charged comments could easily polarize a legislator against us.

These are some of the negative arguments that were raised today:
1. Several legislators brought up the idea of an insurance rider for autism. There are several reasons why a rider is not an acceptable solution. First off, the rider does not help YOU...families who already have a child with a diagnosis. The rider would have to be purchased before a child is born. How many of you would have opted to pay extra for autism coverage before your child was born, just in case they happened to become diagnosed with autism? I can honestly say that I wouldn't have. Young parents are already faced with so many financial strains of having a new baby. The few that might buy into this plan would probably be those that already have autism in their family. So, we know that MANY children still wouldn't receive coverage for their treatment because their parents didn't buy into the rider. Second, the rider that has been proposed by the insurance companies only allows coverage for children from 2-6 years old. It only allows $25,000 a year for coverage, and there is a daily limit of $100. We know that these severe limits would not provide for quality treatment. There is no way that a full early intensive program could be attained with these limitations. Third, There are not riders for preemies, cancer or diabetes. Why is this medical problem not good enough for full health insurance coverage? Lastly, we in the autism community view the rider as a calculated distraction by the insurance lobby, and vote for the rider is a vote against families and children with autism.

2. Another idea brought up by Senators was a government program to provide treatment to children with autism. There are several reasons why we won't consider this either. First of all, we all know that our state is in a budget shortfall. There is no way that they would be able to find the amount of money needed to provide every child with autism with a full early intensive treatment program. If they were to somehow fund it, we know through other states that the reimbursement rates are so low to treatment providers that the quality of care is horrendous. There would never be enough money to provide all children with care at once, so there will be waiting lists. If a Senator thinks that the price tag of Clay's Law being $1.8 million is too high, then they would never be able to get the price low enough for a government program. Lastly, Autism is a medical problem that needs to be addressed by medical insurance, not the state.

3. This bill will only help 30%, so it's not fair to everyone else. While this legislation will only affect 30%, it's a starting point. We need to start breaking down the barriers somewhere. We can't expect to change the law to cover everyone over night. We know that in other states where similar legislation has passed, some of the larger self insured companies have followed suit to be able to compete with other companies in their states. The fact is, we can't regulate all health insurance at a state level. We are doing what we can. The rest of insurance is governed by federal law. We know that President Obama has drafted legislation that would mandate the rest of the insurance plans. You can see this draft legislation by going to the link on the right hand side of UTautismcoalition.blogspot.com.

4. This bill is a mandate. Some Senators are philosophically against forcing health insurance companies to cover certain things. It's hard to get them to look objectively at Clay's Law if they can't get passed the fact that it is a mandate. Senator Stephenson spoke to this today. He talked about how right now, everyone with health insurance is being mandated. We have no control over what is covered and what isn't. Us young families with children who need help are paying the health insurance premiums that are being spent on the oldest generation. We know that 80% of health care costs go to those who are in the last five years of life. Our health insurance premiums are going towards hip replacements, terminal cancer and life extending treatments. We are paying these premiums, but we can't even get treatment for our children, who have their whole lives ahead of them. The other argument against a mandate is that it raises the cost of health insurance premiums for all, thus making health insurance unreachable for many. Claims are made that employers would have to forego coverage for the cost of this mandate. This is simply untrue. An actuarial report of the fiscal effects of Clay's Law documents the maximum likely cost on the insurance ratepayer is 0.85%. This translates to about the cost of a tank of gas per year for each policy holder. The insurance industry's own association - the Council for Affordable Health Insurance - estimates that mandated autism benefits increase premium costs by LESS than 1%. Despite the doomsday predictions from the insurance lobby, there's been no mass exodus of insurers, no businesses throwing in the towel because of this benefit. Indeed, experience indicates the impact on premiums has been negligible. In Indiana, the Department of Insurance called the financial impact "unmeasurable" even years after the coverage became effective.

5. Treatment isn't proven....Behavioral interventions are based upon decades of scientific investigation with individuals affected by a wide range of behavioral and developmental disorders, including autism. Specifically for children with autism, research demonstrates the efficacy of ABA in teaching complex communication, social, play, and self-help skills, and in reducing disruptive behaviors. Numerous long-term outcome studies (e.g., Lovaas, 1987, McEachin et al, 1993) document that 40-50% of children who receive early intensive ABA treatment achieve: Higher educational placements, Increased IQ levels, Perform successfully in mainstream educational settings, and Become indistinguishable from same-aged peers.

6. There was a request for a "Sunset" to be added to this bill. A sunset would mean that the cost of this bill would be studied at a later time to find out if it lived up it's claims of staying below a 1% increase in cost to policy holders. If the bill were to cost more than 1%, the bill could be taken off the books. We are confident that our numbers will stay this low. There has been much research done on the cost to policy holders in other states with mandated coverage as mentioned in #4. We will likely agree to a sunset to be added to the bill if this is what it takes to get it passed.

We kindly ask that if you contact your legislators and want to talk to them about these arguments, that you not accuse them of making all of these claims. When talking about them, merely say that these were some of the arguments that were brought up by Senators today during the debate. Let them know how you feel about these arguments, and why Clay's Law is still the best solution. Please keep your arguments objective and respectful.

Every Senator that spoke during the debate today talked about how strong the parent lobby for Clay's Law is. They ARE hearing our message, and your dedication IS paying off. While we may not be able to turn every vote in our favor, we are very impressed with some of the votes that have come around through constant communication from their constituents. Please keep it up. Don't quit now. We only have four weeks left. Each vote will get harder and harder. We need our grassroots to remain STRONG and UNITED! Please do whatever you can to be at the second Senate vote on Friday at 10am. We need to fill that Senate Gallery again. It was our understanding that children were discouraged and standing in the gallery was not allowed. Today, both were allowed. On Friday, bring EVERYONE! Bring your friends, family, neighbors, kids, neighbors kids, and whomever else will be willing to be there. Wear red and your Clay's Law buttons. We need a great showing from as many as possible.

Thank you for your support thus far. Keep up the great work, so that we can all cheer in the end for autism insurance coverage!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

PLEASE COME TOMORROW!!!

Don't forget about the Senate Vote on Wednesday at 2:00 pm. We have lots going on that day that we want you all to participate in. There are a few ways that we need to let our Senators know that we are there in full force....

1. Senators will be in their chambers from 10:00 am - Noon. During this time, anyone can send a brief note to their Senator letting them know that they hope for them to vote Yes on Clay's Law, and that they will be there watching their vote for Clay's Law later that day. If possible, bring a small photo of your child to attach to the note too. This is the best time to let them know you are there. So, if you can be there before 11:30 am to have the note delivered, GREAT!!! The notes have to either be on the special Blue Senate Paper that they have available, or they have to be stapled to the blue paper. The notes can be given to the security officer outside of the Senate Chambers to be delivered to the Senators.

2. As of now, there are no major lunches planned for the legislature on Wednesday. We would like to encourage all of you to call your Senator NOW and offer to bring them lunch that day. It may buy you an opportunity to get some face time with your Senator before they make their vote. We are working on the details of catering. We will not be allowed to bring a caterer into the Capitol. But, we can have a car outside with the premade lunches for you and your Senator. PLEASE LET US KNOW if you get an appointment set for lunch on Wednesday with your Senator. Two reasons: A. We need to know how many lunches to order, and B. We want as many people from your Senators district to be able to meet with you during that lunch. The more faces they see before the vote, the more likely they will vote in favor. So, we would need to notify everyone in your district that a lunch meeting is set.

3. The Clay's Law debate begins at 2:00 pm. It will be followed by the vote. If you were not able to come early, we still want to squeeze in those last notes to Senators letting them know that you are there. Sen. Stephenson has told us that it's most effective for the Senators to get the note earlier in the day. But, if you can't get there. We can still get them in at 2:00 pm. We would have to make sure that they are organized by about 1:30 to ensure that they are delivered promptly at 2:00 pm. We don't want them to get the notes after the vote has taken place. Luckily we can buy ourselves with time because of the "debate" that will happen before the actual vote.

Don't forget to WEAR RED!

As I stated in the last post, the Senate Gallery only seats about 100 people. They do not allow anyone to stand. So, Senator Stephenson is working hard to have video and audio pumped into the Capitol Rotunda. We want to make sure that everyone is involved. In order to continue showing courtesy and respect for the legislative process, we ask that parents with energetic children please stay in the Rotunda area for the vote.

Senator Stephenson was extremely impressed with the conduct of our grassroots supporters at the committee hearing. Please continue to always be polite and respectful to the legislators, even if they do not agree with you. Clay's Law is a very emotional issue and it is very easy to get frustrated with a legislator when they do not share our views. However, we need to respect their right to see this issue differently. If you start to feel up upset or angry, please end the conversation.

Lastly, Congratulations!!! In the last email, we asked you to contact your friends and family in the districts of Senator Stowell and Urquhart. Since that email, Senator Stowell has not only pledged his support, but has signed on as a Co-Sponsor and is urging other Senators to vote Yes for Clay's Law!!!! Great job!

Thank you for your ongoing support! Each and everyone of you have played such an important roll in this campaign. You are the reason that Clay's Law has been so successful thus far. There are only four more weeks of the legislative session. Let's keep pushing strong to get it passed now!!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Senate Vote on Wednesday at 2:00pm

Clay's Law is on a roll! The supporters who turned out in droves Thursday to fight the good fight thrilled us and Senator Stephenson. As a result, Clay's Law passed out of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee! Congratulations Utah! We have to keep the momentum going!!!!

The next stop for Clay's Law is the Senate Floor and 2 more votes! The first critical vote will be this Wednesday, February 18 at 2:00pm. We need your help to ensure that every state senator votes YES on Clay's Law! Please continue to contact your Senators so they don't stop hearing about the importance of passing this bill. You can also help pass Clay's Law by participating in getting petitions signed in one of the districts where we are gaining signatures. The Senate districts that we currently gaining signatures in are: Liljenquist, Christensen, Jenkins, Dayton, Valentine, Killpack, Madsen, and Urquhart.

PLEASE SHOW UP FOR THE VOTE! We need to continue demonstrating how much the citizens of Utah want this bill to pass the Utah Senate by showing up en masse for the vote on Wednesday at 2:00 pm. We need at least 300 people gathered in support at the Capital Rotunda and Senate chambers. Please wear something red and come to the Capitol Rotunda starting at 10:00am. We will have special note cards for everyone to sign that we will then deliver to each Senator prior to the vote. There also may be opportunities to speak to your Senator in person about supporting Clay's Law. The Senators will also know their constituents are there watching them vote! You can write a short note on a half sheet of paper or 3x5 card that says that you are here in support of Clay's Law. Tell them that you will be watching their vote today. Sign it with your name and city. Have your friends and neighbors make these basic cards too. If they can't come, ask them write a note too, and send it with you. All notes must be collected by 1:00pm so we can hand deliver them to each Senator just before the vote. The more notes they get, the more pressure they will feel from their constituents to vote in favor of Clay's Law.

The Senate Gallery only seats about 100 people. They do not allow anyone to stand so Senator Stephenson is working hard to have video and audio pumped into the Capitol Rotunda. We want to make sure that everyone is involved.

In order to continue showing courtesy and respect for the legislative process, we ask that parents with energetic children please stay in the Rotunda area for the vote.

Senator Stephenson was extremely impressed with the conduct of our grassroots supporters at the committee hearing. Please continue to always be polite and respectful to the legislators, even if they do not agree with you. Clay's Law is a very emotional issue and it is very easy to get frustrated with a legislator when they do not share our views. However, we need respect their right to see this issue differently. If you start to feel upset or angry, please end the conversation.

Lastly, we are struggling to get strong support in the districts for Senator Urquhart and Senator Stowell. If you have family or friends that live in these counties: Beaver, Garfield, Iron, Kane, Millard or Washington, Please ask them to contact their Senator and encourage them to support Clay's Law. We need to get more letters and phone calls to those two legislators ASAP.

Thank you for your ongoing support!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Everyone Pat Yourself on the Back!!!

We made it through the first step. Clay's Law passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee hearing. The votes went 5 in favor and 1 opposed. This is all because of you and your hard work. These legislators know how important Clay's Law is to all of you. Please call or email the Senators and thank them for their favorable votes. We have to keep their votes through the Senate hearing next week, so they need to know how appreciative we are that they passed it through the hearing.

It was such an awesome experience this morning to see the great support that we had in that room for Clay's Law. Thank you for your hard work and support so far. The next step is the Senate Floor Vote. This will most likely take place next Tuesday. We don't have firm details on it yet, but will let you know as soon as possible. We will not have the opportunity to speak in favor of this bill like we did today. But, there is a gallery in the Senate that is open to the public. If we can firm up the details of when the vote will take place, we will let you all know so that you can be there again to show your support for the bill.

We have to apologize to those who brought their signs today. We were never told that signs weren't allowed. It was always part of our plan to have many signs in that room. We didn't hear anything about a rule against signs until we all started to walk in the room and the security was taking them away. We are so sorry about that. A lot of you put some hard work and money into those signs. We truly appreciate the effort!
Please contact these Senators and thank them for their favorable vote.

Senator Luz Robles: lrobles@utahsenate.org
Office (801) 521-0407 Home (801) 953-0905

Senator Chris Buttars: dcbuttars@utahsenate.org
Home (801) 561-0535

Senator Pat Jones: pjones@utahsenate.org
Office (801) 322-5722 Home (801) 278-7667

Senator David Hinkins: dhinkins@utahsenate.org
Office (435)-748-2828 Home (435)-384-5550

Senator Gregory Bell: gbell@utahsenate.org
Office (801) 531-8900 ext. 148

The only vote in opposition came from Senator Allen Christensen. We sill think that we might be able to change his vote before the Senate vote on Tuesday. Even though we are frustrated with his opposition, we have to remember to stay positive and respectful when communicating with him. We do want to get a petition going in his district. We had quite a few people working on petitions in Sen. Bell's district. They were delivered to him yesterday. They obviously had a positive effect. If you would be willing to help us walk Senator Christensen's district this weekend, PLEASE LET US KNOW!

THANK YOU ALL!!!!

Please see Heathers real parent account of how the hearing went today. It brought tears to my eyes....http://parentingpartner.blogspot.com/

One Vote Down!

We are very pleased to announce that Clay's Law was voted through the Senate Health and Human Services Committee earlier today.  Thanks to all of you who came out to show your support - it was standing room only!

Now, it is on to the Senate floor for a vote.  We will provide more details later today.

Again, thanks for your support.  Clay's Law would not have made it this far without all of you!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

ALERT!!! ROOM CHANGE FOR CLAY"S LAW HEARING

The Health and Human Services Committee Hearing is Thursday, February 12, 2009 at 8:00am-9:20am.

THE HEARING WILL NOW TAKE PLACE IN 30 HOUSE BUILDING. The House Building is a separate building behind and WEST of the main Capitol Building. Please spread the word.

View maps of Capitol Buildings and Parking information: http://www.le.state.ut.us/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2009&Com=SSTHHS
Click on "30 House Building" and then click on "Directions, public transport and parking"

Thursday, February 5, 2009

URGENT!!! Clay's Law Committee Hearing

It's really happening this time!! Clear your schedule right now!

Who: Clay's Law hearing in front of the Health and Human Services Senate Sub Committee
When: Thursday, February 12th, 8am-9:30am
Where: Utah State Capitol, Room 250
How Can You Help: BE THERE!! Bring your family, friends, neighbors, church friends, playgroup moms & kids, bring EVERYONE! We need to fill that room so that it's standing room only, and there are people spilling out into the hall. Bring signs that say "Vote Yes for Clay's Law" or "We support Clay's Law." If you are in Senator Bell or Senator Stephenson's districts, bring signs that say "Sen. (Bell's/Christensen's) district is for Clay's Law." We are having buttons made that say "Vote Yes!!! Clay's Law" we will only have a few hundred made, so if you take one, make sure you hold onto it and wear it again to other hearings in the future.

Please forward this on to everyone you know in Utah. Ask them to be there to support Clay's Law!

Just so you know where we are at in the legislative process... here is the breakdown. Clay's Law has to pass each step. If it fails in any one of these spots, it's dead. Then we will have to work even harder next year to get it passed. Let's just knock it out of the park NOW!!

1. Senate Sub Committee Hearing - this is the meeting that is on Thursday.
2. Senate Vote - The whole Senate will be able to vote on Clay's Law.
3. House Sub Committee Hearing - Just like the Senate, it has to go through the sub committee first.
4. House Vote - The whole House of Representatives will be able to vote on Clay's Law
5. Appropriations Sub Committee - This sub committee decides if it's worth the money to pass.
6. Governor - After passing all of that, Gov. Huntsman can still Veto the Law. So, we'll need to start writing him letters too.

There are only five weeks left in the legislative session. So this will all fly by really fast. We will need as many people as possible to show up to all of the hearings and votes. Please continue to contact your legislators and ask them to support Clay's Law!!!

Thank you for all of your hard work and support. We honestly can't get this bill passed without help from all of you. It's you guys that are making this all happen.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Meet and Greet - A Huge Success!

What a great turnout at the Legislative Meet and Greet. YOU GUYS WERE AWESOME LAST NIGHT! We were floored by the support and tenacity of our grass roots effort. A huge kudos to you all for making this a successful event. So many legislators spoke to us about the many heartfelt letters and phone calls that they have received. What a huge difference you're making...

Fantastic!

Next step? Committee Hearing most likely next week. Start now gathering friends and family, neighbors - even people off the street - to show a huge presence. We want standing room only with people flooding into the halls packed in so close you can tell what kind of deodorant the person standing next to you is wearing. This will determine whether the bill makes it to the floor for a senate vote. As soon as Sen. Stephenson contacts me with the hearing date, I'm sending out a red alert!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mark Your Calenders

The legislative meet and greet for people with disabilities is next week. This is an awesome opportunity for you to meet with legislators and speak to them face to face about Clay's Law. It is on February 3rd at 4:30-6:00pm in the Capitol Rotunda.

If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Trisha Rouse at the Statewide Independent Living Council. The number is 801-463-1592. This is probably so that they can have name tags made and food and drink for enough people. If you forget to RSVP or just don't bother with it, you can still come, of course, but it helps the organizers to know numbers if at all possible. *UPDATE* Please email trouse@usilc.org to RSPV*

If you plan to attend, you should e-mail your legislators if possible to let them know that you will be at the meet and greet to visit with them. It is our understanding that legislators will be more likely to attend and/or stay longer if they have received several or more e-mails of constituents planning to visit with them. If you have already spoken to your legislator by phone or in person, it's a good idea to thank them for that in the e-mail.

Everyone should bring as many people as they can to talk to the legislator--spouses, parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts, pastors, bishops, neighbors, friends. The more folks we have e-mailing they are coming and the more that show up, the better. You may have to wait for the legislative session to end for the day for the legislators to come visit. They could also leave very quickly too. Coming at 4:30 probably means you have to wait, but coming at 5:45 probably means your legislator is not still there!

Thanks Betsy for getting us this great information!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Utah Business Support for Clay's Law

We'd like to thank Fraser Bullock for all of the great support that he has given to Clay's Law. He's been working hard right along with us to ensure that SB-43 passes. He recently gained the support of many influential business leaders of Utah. Fraser shared with us that, "Virtually every one I contact in the business community thinks this is obvious to do."

Thanks Fraser, we are so fortunate to have you on our team!!!

Supporters of Clay's Law

Individual: Title - Company

JJim Sorenson: CEO - The Sorenson Companies
Fraser Bullock: Managing Dir - Sorenson Capital
Scott Anderson: President - Zions Bank
Josh James: CEO - Omniture
Steve Creamer: CEO - Energy Solutions
Jim Thornton: CEO - Provo Craft
Blake Roney: Chairman - NuSkin
Randy Hales: CEO - Mity Enterprises
Kirk Benson: CEO - Headwaters
Dave Layton: CEO - Layton Construction
Paul Magleby: CEO - Magleby Construction
James Patterson: President - Patterson Construction
Jack Sunderlage: CEO - Content Watch
Glen Mella: President - Control 4
Greg Butterfield: Former CEO - Altiris
Gary Crocker: Chairman - Merrimack
Steve Christensen: CEO - Broadweave
Henry Marsh: Founder - Mona Vie
Brent Wood: CEO - Wencor
Steve Peterson: CEO - Peterson, Inc.
Ron Smart: CEO - Wondoor
John Miller: CEO - National Beef
Phil Thompson: Former CEO - Industrial Supply
Nolan Karros: Former Speaker of the House
Ken Bullock: Executive Director - Utah League of Cities and Towns
Bob Frankenberg: Former CEO - Novell
Gordon Strachan: Partner - Strachan and Strachan
Dinesh Patel: Partner - vSpring
Jim Dreyfous: Partner - UV Ventures
Dave Moon: Partner - EsNet
Ralph Yarrow: Former CEO - Canopy
Brent Israelsen: Founder - Digital Bridge
Fred Zirkle: Partner - Industry Pro

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Senate Bill 43, Clay's Law

We know that you have all been waiting to see the legislation. Well it has been filed and numbered now. So go ahead and read it!
http://le.utah.gov/~2009/bills/sbillint/sb0043.pdf


Bill Highlights:

- Requires private health insurance companies to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder

- Coverage will be provided to individuals under the age of 17

- Coverage under this bill is subject to an maximum benefit of $50,000 annually for a child who is less than 9 years old and a maximum benefit of $25,000 annually for a child who is between 9 and 17 years old

- Coverage provided for treatment of autism spectrum disorders, defined as any treatment generally accepted by the medical community or the American Academy of Pediatrics as an effective treatment for children with autism

- The bill includes coverage of the following treatments: Habilitative or rehabilitative care, Early intensive behavior therapy, Pharmacy care, Psychiatric care, Psychological care, Therapeutic care, Occupational therapy, and Speech therapy

- The bill applies only to fully-funded health plans governed by state

- If passed the bill will go into effect on July 1, 2010

CLAY'S LAW Video

Please share this video with your legislators, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. This video is very compelling, and is sure to help convince everyone to vote for Clay's Law.

Press Conference Went Great!

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend the press conference to show support for Clay's Law. It was extremely effective. We had so much press there, and they stayed the whole time and asked questions after it was all done. Let's hope they run some great stories about it.
Representative Barrus, Senator Stephenson, Holly Rechis, Brittany Recalde, Leeann Whiffen

To put a face to a name. This is Leeann Whiffen and Brittany Recalde.... The Utah Autism Coalition Founders.

We loved having so many supporters there with their signs and photos.

Press Release




*Click on each image to enlarge*



Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Press Advisory

CONTACT:
Leeann Whiffen
801-787-2273 cell
801-763-8233 home
LeeannWhiffen@gmail.com

Coalition to Update Utah Insurance Coverage for Autism

Legislators, business leaders and families join together in announcing a bill to update medical insurance to eliminate discrimination of and provide coverage for children with autism. “Clay’s Law”, named after a child who, after successful treatment, no longer has autism, will help countless children and save taxpayers in Utah millions of dollars.


When: Thursday, January 22, 2009
11 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Where: Utah State Capitol Rotunda

Who: Sen. Howard Stephenson (Utah Senate District 11), Rep. Roger Barrus (Utah House District 18), Fraser Bullock (former CEO 2002 Olympic Winter Games - in absentia), Paul Carbone, MD (Intermountain Pediatric Society), Steve Michalski (autism specialist), Leeann Whiffen (Clay’s mother), Brittany Recalde (parent), and Holly Rechis (parent).


Ample space will be available for photography (still and video) and audio recording. A press Question & Answer session will follow the brief comments. If you would like to make arrangements to interview any of the speakers listed above, or want more information about the Utah Autism Coalition, please call Leeann Whiffen.


# # # #

Monday, January 19, 2009

Extra Extra!!! Press Conference Thursday!

Join us at our press conference to announce Clay's Law. We need to show the media that you support this.

Where: Utah State Capitol Rotunda
When: Thursday January 22nd at 11am

Also, call the media stations, newspapers and radio. Let them know that you are interested in Autism Legislation. Ask them to cover any information about Clay's Law.

Chanel 5: (801) KSL-5500
Chanel 2: (801) 415-2222
Chanel 4: (801) 975-4444

Deseret News: (801) 237-2100
Salt Lake Tribune: (801) 257-8742

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Clay's Law Update

By now you should have received an email stating who your legislators are and asking you to make the call to them. We hope that you have been able to find the time in your busy schedules to make this a priority. We have heard some great feedback so far. Thank you to those who have gotten back to us with your legislators responses.

We have had a few people write to ask for more information about Clay’s Law. If you would like to know more about the bill before you call your legislators, you can read our draft legislation on our website, www. Utautismcoalition.blogspot.com.There is also a great document written by Autism Speaks with some arguments in favor of legislation like Clays Law. It can be found here: http://www.autismvotes.org/atf/cf/%7B2a179b73-96e2-44c3-8816-1b1c0be5334b%7D/ARGUMENTS_FOR_PRIVATE_INSURANCE_COVERAGE.PDF

We have had a few meetings with policy writers about our bill. We are very close to having it finished and filed. As soon as we get our hands on it we will put it on our website and send everyone an email letting you know that it is finished and ready for you to view.

Lastly, we have just found out about a great opportunity for all of us to speak face to face with our legislators. Every year there is a reception held at the Capitol for families of those with disabilities to have a meet and greet with legislators. This years reception is scheduled for February 3rd at 4:30-6:00pm in the Capitol Rotunda. It is our understanding that not every legislator attends. Most come out after their meetings are finished for the day. So, there may not be many there right at 4:30pm. You may have to wait to be able to speak with them. We plan to attend and speak with as many legislators as we can about Clay’s Law and ask them to Co-sponsor. Please join us so that they can see just how many people want Clay’s Law passed.

We truly appreciate each and every one of you calling and writing your legislators. This is such an important bill, that will not get passed without support from people all over the state.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Contact your senator

Senator

District

Contact Info

Luz Robles

1

1004 N Morton Drive

Salt Lake City, UT 84116

Minority Caucus Manager

w. 801-521-0407

h. 801-953-0905

Scott D. McCoy

2

560 East 700 South

Salt Lake City, UT 84102

h. 801-359-2544

w. 801-533-8383

Gene Davis

3

865 Parkway Avenue

Salt Lake City, UT 84106

h. 801-484-9428

f. 801-484-9442

Patricia W. Jones

4

4571 Sycamore Drive

Holladay, UT 84117

Minority Leader

w. 801-322-5722

h. 801-278-7667

f. 801-322-5725

Karen Mayne

5

5044 Bannock Circle

West Valley City, UT 84120

Assistant Minority Whip

h. 801-968-7756

Michael G. Waddoups

6

2868 W. Matterhorn Drive

W Jordan, UT 84084

President of the Senate

w. 801-355-1136

h. 801-967-0225

Ross I. Romero

7

1150 South 1400 East

Salt Lake City, UT 84105

w. 801-844-7229

Minority Whip

h. 801-364-2451

f. 801-328-0537

Karen W. Morgan

8

8378 Austrian Way

Cottonwood Heights, UT 84121

w. 801-538-1406

h. 801-943-0067

f. 801-943-9614

Wayne L. Niederhauser

9

3182 E. Granite Woods Lane

Sandy, UT 84092

w. 801-984-5770

h. 801-942-3398

f. 1-866-283-7751

D. Chris Buttars

10

9241 S Lisa Ave

W Jordan, UT 84088

h. 801-561-0535

f. 801-561-3242

Howard A. Stephenson

11

1038 East 13590 So.

Draper, UT 84020

w. 801-972-8814

h. 801-576-1022

Brent H. Goodfellow

12

3620 South 6000 W

WVC, UT 84128

h. 801-968-0626

c. 801-556-4871

Mark B. Madsen

13

PO Box 572

Lehi, UT 84043

c. 801-361-4787

John L. Valentine

14

857 E 970 North

Orem, UT 84097

w. 801-373-6345

h. 801-224-1693

f. 801-377-4991

Margaret Dayton

15

97 W Westview Dr

Orem, UT 84058

h. 801-221-0623

f. 801-221-2513

Curt Bramble

16

3663 N 870 E

Provo, UT 84604

w. 801-373-1040

h. 801-226-3663

c. 801-361-5802

f. 801-812-8297

Peter C. Knudson

17

1209 Michelle Drive

Brigham City, UT 84302

w. 435-723-6366

h. 435-723-2035

f. 435-723-6371

Jon J. Greiner

18

4232 Fern Drive

Ogden, UT 84403

w. 801-629-8226

h. 801-621-0423

Allen Christensen

19

1233 E 2250 North

No. Ogden, UT 84414

h. 801-782-5600

c. 801-710-0315

Scott Jenkins

20

4385 W 1975 N

Plain City, UT 84404

Majority Whip

w. 801-621-5412

h. 801-731-5120

Sheldon Killpack

21

3406 South 875 West

Syracuse UT 84075

Majority Leader

h. 801-773-5486

Greg Bell

22

744 Eagle Way

Fruit Heights, UT 84037

Assistant Majority Whip

w. 801-531-8900

Daniel R. Liljenquist

23

553 So. Davis Blvd

Bountiful, UT 84010

h. 801-294-2378

Ralph Okerlund

24

248 S 500 West

Monroe, UT 84754

h. 435-527-3370

c. 435-979-7077

f. 435-527-3370

Lyle Hillyard

25

595 S Riverwoods Parkway, Suite 100

Logan, UT 84321

w. 435-752-2610

h. 435-753-0043

f. 435-753-8895

Kevin T. Van Tassell

26

3424 W 1500 North

Vernal, UT 84078

w. 435-789-7082, 435-647-6564

h. 435-789-0724

f. 435-789-8411

David P. Hinkins

27

P.O. Box 485

Orangeville, UT 84537

w. 435-748-2828

h. 435-384-5550

f. 435-748-2089

Dennis E. Stowell

28

PO Box 796

Parowan, UT 84761

h. 435-477-8143

c. 435-559-8143

f. 435-477-8111

Stephen H. Urquhart

29

634 E 1100 South

St. George, UT 84790

c. 435-668-7759

f. 435-272-4484