Monday, September 8, 2014

Survey Response: Nihla Judd, Candidate for UT House 75

Nihla Judd
Candidates for the November 2014 elections were given the opportunity to respond to a few questions relating to autism. The following responses are from Nihla Judd, candidate for Utah House District 75.

Insurance Coverage:   SB57 was passed in the 2014 legislative session. It goes into effect on January 1, 2016, and among other things, will require individual and large group plans to cover a limited amount of behavioral therapy for autistic children through age 9. The bill has a sunset clause which will cause it to expire on January 1, 2019. 

Would you support renewal or expansion of SB57 if the costs prove to be manageable?

Nihla Judd:   
1) What are the costs?

2) Who manages it, and who decides if it is manageable?

3) Does the Constitution provide for the legislature to legislate to private insurance companies? 

I believe the best way to answer your question is with a story:

"One day during the nine years that Davy Crockett served in Congress, a fire broke out in Georgetown, a suburb of Washington. Many of the congressmen fought the fire including Davy. The next day they voted $20,000 to assist the victims.

When Davy returned home, Horatio Bunce, a constituent, commended him for his desire to help the homeless and then scolded him for using other people's money. He asked Crockett to show him where in the Constitution it allowed congress to spend one cent of other people's money for charity. Bunce taught him that he could use his own money to help those in need, but that it was dishonest and unconstitutional to take other's money to provide charity.

In a subsequent session the congressmen wanted to give a substantial sum to the widow of a distinguished naval officer. Crockett said, "Mr. Speaker, I have as much... sympathy as...any man in the house, but Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money....I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week's pay for the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks." 

The bill was defeated; some Congressmen were very wealthy, not one of them came forward to take up Crockett's offer to donate a week's salary to the widow as a gesture of private charity."

(Edward S. Ellis, The Life of Colonel David Crockett....(Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1884), pp 138-139

Each one of our legislators took an oath to uphold the Constitution. There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution about health care. "The general welfare" has to do with the welfare of the nation as a whole – not individual citizens in the nation. The only thing in the Utah Constitution about health is not applicable to this situation: "...the Legislature shall pass laws to provide for the health and safety of employees in factories, smelters and mines." 

(Article XVI, Sec. 6)

WanderingWandering (or elopement) is an issue that affects around half of children with ASD, as well as many people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. There are substantial costs involved with search efforts that often require emergency personnel. There are also promising technologies, such as smartphones, GPS, and Bluetooth, which can help with tracking these individuals. 

 Would you support efforts to:
  1. better understand the extent of the wandering problem in Utah
  2. promote training for emergency personnel
  3. identify technological solutions and help make them affordable for caregivers
Nihla Judd 

  1. Absolutely.
  2. Since we have emergency personnel, are they not already trained and kept updated on training for all?
  3. Whose responsibility is it to make technology affordable?

Utah is a state full of charitable citizens. Our constitution is in grave danger because elected officials have not held to their oath of office in defending and upholding it. Most of our problems can be solved by adhering to the constitution. It is not a constitutional principle for the government to take from Citizen A and then give what is taken to Citizen B. This is plunder. Such acts are Socialistic and will result in a nation of Socialism. If we would not take from Citizen A to give to Citizen B, we should not expect our government to do a dishonest deed in our behalf. We need to fortify, defend and strengthen the Republic that our Founders labored so diligently to put in place for us so that we can maintain our liberties and freedoms. 

We can go to families, charitable organizations, citizens, churches, etc. to raise money for technological solutions.

Utahans are overwhelmingly good hearted and want the best for others. 

We see this in times of tragedy where the greatest help is given by individuals, not the government. People helping people is what keeps us 

Charity is a noble characteristic. Government take over of charity does not develop and foster character and charity in the citizenry. People helping people is what keeps us free from government entanglements.

Please see experience of Davy Crockett above.

Education: Education is a priority for many UAC members. Kids on the spectrum often require special education resources.

What do you see as the current state of the Utah education system, including Special Ed, and what steps would you support to improve it?

Nihla Judd:   
I see a team of caring, loving teachers who chose their profession because of their love of people and their love of education – both for themselves and for those whom they educate. I see Utah as a conservative state striving to live within their means – to stay on budget although we do have debt. I believe that is the great objective in view of the run-away spending patterns in Washington D.C. It is commendable to maintain a balanced budget so that we do not encumber those we are educating with unmanageable debt in their futures. In order to do so, sacrifices must be made. Throwing money at our education system is not a solution. Hard work, determination and dedication will do more than money ever can.

Education in Utah can be improved by adhering to state law:

UCA: 53A-1-904 – lines 238-239: "...the parents in conjunction with school officials, shall determine which program best meets the educational needs of the student."

HB 250 – UCA 53A-3-401 – "School Board members in Utah are to represent the children and their families in their districts – not the school board members." (When a school board makes a unanimous decision, it appears that they are NOT representing their constituents who have taken time, effort and energy to communicate their concerns with them. 

HB 135 – 53A-1-903, line 201: "minimize additional state, maximize local control

Line 202 (d) – "minimize additional state resources that are diverted to implement federal programs. (This is the best way to secure additional/needed funds.)

Line 204 (e) – "request changes to federal educational programs, especially programs that are (Line 205) – "under-funded or provide conflicts with other state or federal programs"

I believe that these laws apply in a very supportive way to special education.

Housing and Employment: When autistic people transition out of the public school system, many of them need help with housing and employment. According to the 2013 Annual Report of the Utah Division of Services for People with Disabilities, Over 5,000 Utahns received services, and 80% of them had an intellectual disability. Another 1,892 Utahns are on the waiting list.

Would you support steps to improve housing and employment opportunities for individuals with autism?

Nihla Judd:  
Yes, of course. Let's involve families, community, churches, and charitable organizations and get government out of where they do not belong.