New Jersey Assembly members are poised to vote on legislation that would provide more assistance for people with autism.
The Garden State has the nation’s highest autism rate, and officials have moved in recent years to raise awareness about the disorder and encourage early diagnosis and early intervention. New Jersey recently became the 15th state to require expanded health insurance coverage for autism, and also has established a centralized statewide autism registry and trains teachers in autism awareness.
The two measures scheduled for a vote Monday mostly target adults with autism.
One bill would permit them to voluntarily place their names on a new state registry that officials say would help improve planning and other services for those with autism spectrum disorders. Adults could register themselves or be listed by a health care or service provider.
The other would revise the state’s discrimination laws to specifically prohibit discriminatory acts against people with autism.
Both measures are sponsored by Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts, D-Camden, and were recommended by the Adults with Autism Task Force that was created under a law he sponsored. Both were approved late last month by the Assembly’s Health and Senior Services Committee.