Autism Society of Maine December 2018 Legislation Update
by Betsy Mahoney, ASM Community Outreach Liaison: Betsy@asmonline.org
Change in leadership in Augusta, 129th Legislature:
With the election of Democrat Janet Mills as governor of Maine and with new legislators in the House and Senate of the 129th Legislature, the Autism Society is looking forward to working with legislators and the Mills administration to push for new legislation and rulemaking that support people with autism and their family members.
New DHHS Commissioner:
Governor-elect Mills has named Maine native Jeanne Lambrew as Health and Human Services Commissioner. DHHS oversees programs that serve and have a great impact on families. Lambrew served under President Obama as director of the Office of Health Reform at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and later as his deputy assistant for health policy during the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. We are pleased to have a highly experienced health policy maker heading up DHHS and are looking forward to working with her and her staff.
Upcoming legislation that may impact our membership:
ASM Board member Rep. Dick Farnsworth (D-Falmouth) reports that he is introducing (and reintroducing) a slew of bills for the upcoming legislative session. On bill would establish Task Force on the costs of and innovative approaches to special education that was passed but not funded. Other bills pertain to theDepartment of Education's push to transfer Child Development Services to the public schools, and collecting data on restraints and seclusion, and ensuring that restraints and seclusion policies are followed for special education students.
We will begin posting a legislative tracking information on our website once the legislative session starts in January. Site visitors will be able to read summaries of the bills being introduced that may impact our families, and follow their progress through the legislature.
The Autism Society is joining Community Connect Maine and a dozen other organizations in a Collaborative Postcard Project sponsored by Maine Developmental Disabilities Council. The project is to encourage constituents to contact legislators after the election to introduce themselves. Learn who are your legislators and let them learn about you. Click on the link above to get started.