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Expansion Bill Clears New Mexico Legislature

SANTA FE (March 18, 2013) -- The New Mexico Senate gave final legislative approval to a bill that would expand the state's 2009 autism insurance reform law to cover state employees. It was approved 34-0 and sent to Gov. Susana Martinez.

Sponsored by Bernalillo legislators, Rep. James Smith (R) and Senator Bill O'Neill (D), the bill (HB.22) was amended in its final stages at the request of the Martinez administration to delay implementation until January 1, 2015. Martinez signaled her intent to sign the bill with the amendment.

The current law requires coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism through age 19, including up to $36,00 a year for applied behavior analysis. In addition to New Mexico, legislatures in California, Maine, Kansas and Texas are considering bills to expand coverage under existing autism insurance reform laws.

The New Mexico bill is the first to complete legislative action and be sent to the governor.