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Capitol Correspondence - 01.08.17

Last-Minute Changes Sink Autism Wandering Bill

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Shortly before Congress adjourned for the year, the Senate failed to pass Kevin and Avonte’s law, a bill that would have provided training and funding for wearable tracking devices for children with developmental disabilities that are at risk of wandering. (See WICs article, “Autism Wandering Bill Hits Setback,” December 5, 2016.) The Senate unanimously approved a version of the bill last summer, and it was passed by the House in December. However, last minute changes to the bill, likely spurred by privacy concerns raised by groups, caused support to errode. The changes, which included expanding the use of tracking technology by law enforcement, caused disability advocacy groups such as the Arc and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network to strongly oppose the bill. ANCOR supported the prior version of the bill and would support reintroduction of the original bill in the upcoming Congress.