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Autism Wandering Bill Hits Setback

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Autism Wandering Bill Hits Setback

December 5, 2016

Last week, a group called Americans for Limited Government (ALG) issued a statement opposing Kevin and Avonte's Law (S. 2614/H.R. 4919), a bill that ANCOR strongly supports which would expand existing federal programs that provide grants to assist in the design, establishment, and operation of location tracking technology to locate people prone to wandering, including children with autism and adults with dementia. The bill would also provide funding for preventative measures including training and resources aimed at parents, school personnel, first responders, and other members of the public. The bill is named after two autistic children who wandered in separate incidents and who died.

ALG's statement suggests that the bill would permit the government to authorize the involuntary insertion of tracking chips into people who are are unable to give consent due to Alzheimer's and other "fatal dementias". The statement contains several factual errors. The bill refers only to wearable tracking devices, not to insertable chips, and would require the consent of the individual (or their guardian). The bill is clear that participation in the program would be completely voluntary.

The House Judiciary Committee had scheduled a markup of the bill, but that was abruptly postponed, leaving the future of the bill uncertain.