Days remaining in session: 39
Autism bill passes Senate
A measure requiring private health insurance companies to cover autism treatment passed the Senate Monday.
If the House and Gov. Bill Richardson sign on, autism coverage would include screening and treatment through speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and applied behavioral analysis, according to the Senate Republicans.
Under the measure, the maximum benefit would be $36,000 a year or $200,000 per lifetime.
“I have watched this process personally, the private insurance companies know the significance of this and I believe they need a gentle push to include this coverage,” said Sen. Clinton Harden, R-Clovis, the measure’s sponsor.
“Insurance is about taking a risks and spreading the risk over a group of people. This is so moms and dads of autistic children do not have to give up a job to care for their child with autism. This provides coverage and help.”
• Zombies and pirates will descend upon The Roundhouse today. These will be students from the College of Santa’s Performing Arts Department, who will be talking to legislators in support of HB577, which would authorize New Mexico Highlands University to buy the CSF property and establish a campus there. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Luciano “Lucky” Varela, D-Santa Fe.
Varela will join CSF President Stuart Kirk and Highlands President James Fries at a news conference at 2 p.m. to talk about the proposed purchase.
• Today is Hispanic Culture Day at the Roundhouse. The Legislature has a joint session of the House and Senate planned for 10 a.m. in the House chamber. Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen, said he plans to honor the late Senate President Ben Altamirano. There will be other presentations as well as music throughout the day.
• Today is also wear blue to work to support teachers. The American Federation of Teachers is asking those who support education to wear blue to the Capitol today. Representatives of the group are urging state lawmakers to commit to making sure that federal stimulus money is spent on education, and in particular to restore education cuts made to the fiscal year 2009 budget.