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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Legislative Activity in Virginia and West Virginia

WSLS in Roanoke reports:
Teacher aides and others who work with autistic students could receive special training after the state Senate approved a rewritten bill Tuesday.

Sen. Steve Newman, R-Lynchburg, revised a House of Delegates bill proposing to train aides but failing to say how the training would be provided or financed.

House Bill 325, inspired partly by video of a Bedford County school bus aide and driver striking an autistic boy, barely made it out of a Senate committee on an 8-7 vote last week.

The rewritten version received 40-0 approval Tuesday.
AP reports:
Last-minute cost concerns are delaying legislation meant to fix West Virginia's new autism insurance coverage law.

But Senate President Jeff Kessler on Tuesday said that the law's spending containment language should allow a Thursday vote.

The pending bill would make clear that the law's benefit caps are meant for applied behavioral analysis. Experts consider ABA treatment crucial for many children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.
Insurers want the caps to apply to all autism-related coverage. The Public Employees Insurance Agency estimated Tuesday that the bill would cost it at least $3 million annually.        

But the 2011 law also allows insurers to pursue additional savings measures if autism coverage increases annual plan costs by 1% or more. Kessler said that may resolve cost concerns.