New Jersey Governor Corzine Signs Bills on Autism

(NEW JERSEY - September 12, 2007) On September 12, 2007, New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine signed into law a package of seven bills relating to autism spectrum disorders.

“Today, we are enhancing New Jersey's pioneer status in the fight against autism spectrum disorders by bolstering our arsenal of programs, training, education, and research,” said Governor Jon S. Corzine. “This is an opportunity for New Jersey to become a model for other states in researching the nature of autism and its causes as well as in treating those with these disorders.”

“More importantly, through these initiatives, we will be enabling those impacted by autism spectrum disorders to function as independent, productive, and empowered individuals.”

The bills Governor Corzine signed into law are as follows:
 

  • A4055/S2558, providing for teacher training in awareness and instruction methods for students with autism and other developmental disabilities for candidates for teaching certificates, current teachers and paraprofessionals. The Commissioner of Education will develop recommendations to address a variety of issues including the characteristics of students with autism and other developmental disabilities; curriculum planning, assistive technology; and inclusive educational practices.
     
  • A4056/S2568, requiring the Early Intervention Program in the Department of Health and Senior Services to address the specific needs of children with autism spectrum disorders and their families. These activities involve developing guidelines for health care professionals to use in evaluating infants and toddlers for autism, ensuring the timely referral by health care professionals of infants and toddlers suspected of being on the autism spectrum to the Early Intervention Program and collecting data on statewide autism screening, diagnosis, and intervention programs and systems.
     
  • A4057/S2559, establishing the New Jersey Adults with Autism Task Force in the Department of Human Services (DHS). The purpose of the task force is to study, evaluate, and develop recommendations relating to specific actionable measures to support and meet the needs of adults with autism. These include job training and placement, housing, and long-term care.
     
  • S/698A4054, which makes changes to the Governor's Council for Medical Research and Treatment of Infantile Autism, renaming it the Governor's Council for Medical Research and Treatment of Autism.
     
  • A4059/S2569, extending funding for autism medical research and treatment. The bill eliminates the five-year “sunset” for the $1 surcharge established under P.L.2003, c.144 for each motor vehicle fine and penalty imposed by the court, which is deposited in the “Autism Medical Research and Treatment Fund.” The fund provides the financial support funding for the grant and contract awards of the Governor's Council for Medical Research and Treatment of Autism.
     
  • A2306/S2723 requiring the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) to maintain a registry of reported autism diagnoses. The DHSS, in consultation with the Department of Human Services, will maintain an up-to-date registry to include a record of all reported cases of autism that occur in New Jersey; each reported case of autism in which the initial diagnosis is changed, lost, or considered misdiagnosed; and any other information DHSS deems relevant and appropriate to conduct thorough and complete epidemiologic surveys of autism, to enable analysis of this problem, and to plan for and provide services to children with autism and their families.
     
  • A2291/S690, which establishes an Asperger's Syndrome Pilot Initiative in the Department of Human Services. The initiative will provide vocational, educational and social training services to persons with Asperger's Syndrome. This will be accomplished through community-based service sites which offer appropriate support; guidance and education that will enable these individuals to further their education achieve gainful employment and become broadly competent adults who are able to lead fulfilling lives.

Read a press release from Governor Corzine