Area Lawmakers In Town For Legislative Update
Rep. Jones, Senator Clark discuss bullying legislation, budget process, and more.
Parents and educators from a variety of North Shore towns were at the Lynnfield Preschool Wednesday night to get updates on some of the legislative and budget issues related to special education.
House Minority Leader Bradley Jones and State Senator Katherine Clark were also on hand to provide a legislative update on several issues of interest to parents of children in special education programs – from anti-bullying policies to state circuit breaker funding.
Clark recently started her first term in the state senate and recalled how as a house member, she had served on the special education task force and had been a member of the education committee when the anti-bullying bill passed.
She also recalled how as a state legislator, she had filed legislation to provide training to public safety officers about dealing with people who may be on the autism spectrum.
Rep. Jones said that state residents are likely to get a clearer look at the coming year's budget by the second week of April, when the House Ways and Means Committee version should at least be available. Jones also took the opportunity to praise Governor Deval Patrick for having sought to add $80 million in circuit breaker funds to the state budget, something he called "a huge step forward."
Judith Ursitti of Autism Speaks and Amy Weinstock of Autism Families For Change recounted their months of efforts to enact legislation requiring the state's health insurance companies to cover diagnosis and treatment of autism.
The bill was filed in January 2009 with more than 110 co-sponsors in Mass., and passed the state house and senate unanimously in July 2010, soon before a signing ceremony at Fenway Park with Governor Patrick.