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!!!