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Alabama lawmakers send education budget to Gov. Kay Ivey

19 May 2017

Senators voted 33-1 to mandate the coverage of applied behavioral analysis, also known as ABA therapy, an intense and individualized therapy that focuses on improved communication, social skills and other behaviors. "I have learn [ed] so many things, and met some wonderful people", wrote Meridianville resident Summer Bryant Stewart on Rep. Patterson's Facebook wall Tuesday night after the bill's Senate passage.

On Tuesday night he voted no in committee wrangling over the bill, voting against coverage of a child being capped at age 18.

The mandate would apply to businesses with at least 51 employees.

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Lawmakers in both chambers of Alabama's legislature have approved an education budget. Coverage for children 9 and younger would be capped at $40,000 annually. Whatley previously said he preferred "no cap" and would not support "anything less than 25 years old".

The Senate, by a 19-13 vote, added an amendment Wednesday to specify that insurers do not have to provide the coverage to adults.

Pittman cast the sole no vote against the bill, stating it will create obligations that the state can not afford to pay.

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"You can always come back and remove a cap", Pittman said.

The unanimous vote early Thursday morning was a victory for families of children on the autism spectrum who had lobbied lawmakers throughout the session and pressured legislators when the bill appeared to falter.

"The House has said they will concur with whatever we send them and I think they will concur with this", Whatley said. "We're excited for the ones that fall under the coverage", said Catey Hall of Birmingham. "The Business Council of Alabama continues to remind lawmakers that mandates are not free", BCA President and CEO William Canary said in a press release. He'll likely start school in a regular classroom, she said.

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Alabama lawmakers send education budget to Gov. Kay Ivey