Monday, September 8, 2014

Survey Response: Peter Kraus, Candidate for UT House 40

Candidates for the November 2014 elections were given the opportunity to respond to a few questions relating to autism. The following responses are from Peter Kraus, candidate for Utah House District 40.

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?

Peter Kraus:   

Yes, I would support a renewal of this legislation.

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:
  • better understand the extent of the wandering problem in Utah
  • promote training for emergency personnel
  • identify technological solutions and help make them affordable for caregivers
Peter Kraus 

Yes, I would support funding for these efforts.

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?

Peter Kraus:   

The state of Utah needs to look at more efficient ways of spending our education dollars, without reducing the quality of education for Utah students. However, before any significant changes are made, I believe that all stakeholders in public education should have a say in any major policy changes. Some opportunities for improvement in our ranking include finding the resources to hire and retain qualified teachers to make class sizes manageable and funding the construction of new schools in order to cope with the population increases forecasted for the next 20 years. Additionally, I believe that home schooling parents and charter schools should also be supported by public education dollars. Allowing parents diverse choices for their children’s education will lead to healthy competition in the arena of public 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?

Peter Kraus:  

I would need more information on this topic before I could provide you with an answer.