JUNEAU, Alaska, Aug. 10 -- The Alaska House of Representatives' Democratic Caucus issued the following news release:
Today Rep. Pete Petersen (D-Anchorage) was awarded a Soupy Award for his work to pass legislation to ensure that children with autism can receive the treatment they need. Soupy Awards are given annually by Stone Soup Group, an Alaska nonprofit that helps families of children with special needs, to recognize businesses, individuals, and organizations that have made a difference for children with special needs.
"I am honored and humbled to receive this recognition," Petersen said. "I'm proud that after a three year legislative battle, Alaskan children with autism will finally be able to get the treatment they need without bankrupting their families."
Petersen first introduced legislation to require health insurance policies to cover autism in 2009 after meeting with a mother of a child with autism and learning about her family's struggle to pay for their child's treatment, even though they had health insurance. Petersen reintroduced this bill in the 27th Legislature, with Sen. Johnny Ellis (D-Anchorage) introducing the Senate version (SB 74) which ultimately became law. SB 74 passed the Senate 14-5, passed the House 36-3 on the last day of the 2012 session, and became law without the governor's signature on June 27.
"We could not have done this without the overwhelming community support," Petersen said. "I am very grateful to the parents, family members, advocates, and legislators from both parties whose support was critical in passing this bill into law."
For additional information, please contact David Dunsmore in Rep. Petersen's office at (907)269-0265 or (907)830-4288.
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