News


TX Lege Hearing Information: March 18-25th
Autism Society of  Texas Legislative Priorities here.
Sign up for our Email Advocacy List here.
Join us for Texas Autism Advocacy Day on 4/26. Sign up here!
HEARINGS 3/18-3/25
If you would like to make your position known on a bill and cannot register your position in person at a kiosk, or testify in person, please email the members of the committee directly and let them know if you are “FOR” or “AGAINST” a bill. Thank you!
You can find committee member lists & their email addresses here:
 
Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, Monday, March 18, 2019, 1:30 PM
For- HB 1139 Thompson, Senfronia | et al.
Relating to the applicability of the death penalty to a capital offense committed by a person with an intellectual disability. (The supreme court has ruled that sentencing someone with an IDD-Intellectual or Developmental Disability- to death violates the 8th amendment because it is cruel and unusual punishment).
House Public Education Committee, 8:00 AM, Tuesday, March 19, 2019 
Room: E2.036
HB 1453        Bernal
For- Relating to updating requirements for special education training and the make up of the State Board for Educator Certification Board. (A special ed. certified teacher with classroom experience must be on the board that makes decisions on teacher certification requirements).
House Human Services Committee, Tuesday, March 19, 2019 
Room:       E2.030
10:30 AM or upon final adjournment / recess or bill referral if permission granted
For- HB 1585        González, Mary
Relating to a study on interest or other waiting lists maintained for certain Medicaid programs providing services to persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Senate Education Committee Tuesday, March 19, 2019, 9;00 AM
Room: E1.028
For-  SB 213         Seliger
Relating to the use of individual graduation committees and other alternative methods to satisfy certain public high school graduation requirements. (This allows students in special education to graduate based on other factors like grades/coursework instead of STAAR & End of Course exams).
For- SB 1256
Requires TEA to make and maintain a list of teachers who cannot be hired or employed for a number of reasons and imposes penalties for those districts/schools that do so.
Against- SB 316         Hughes 
Relating to the attorney general’s duty to defend public school teachers.
For-SB 364   Watson 
Requires school districts to adopt a formal recess policy for the district.
For-SB 1256   Bettencourt
Relating to employing, terminating, and reporting the misconduct of public school personnel and related entity personnel, including creating a registry of persons ineligible for hire; creating criminal offenses.
Childcare Bill- assistance requested!
We are supporting HB 2883 & companion bill in Senate, SB 1744, to require childcare & after school care providers be trained about autism & disabilities, & prevent discrimination. We need the bills to go to a committee for a hearing! Please email or call members of Senate Health & Human Services (for SB 1744) AND House Human Services (for HB 2883) and ask them to support these bills!
_____________________________________________________________
General information about testifying & logistics:
How to register your position or log in to testify from your own device while you’re at the Capitol (scroll down to “Mobile Device Access” once you open the link):
Senate Bills: The Senate usually has cards that you fill out by hand or you can try to register your position online here: https://mytxlegis.capitol.texas.gov/SWRSPublic/About.aspx\ 
If you use the kiosks at the Capitol, they look like ipads and are set up near hearing rooms. You can use them instead to register to testify OR to log your position on a bill if you cannot stay & testify. Als0, sometimes the Senate will have you fill out a card instead of registering online, so check at the hearing room, even if you just want to register your position.
Capitol Address: 1100 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701
Capitol Visitor Parking Garage address: 1201 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin, TX 78701
Here are some great tips on testifying from Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities:
Please email Jacquie with any questions, or call 512-479-4199, Ext. 4.

 

HB 3: Include Special Ed. Funding!

HB 3 will be heard in the Public Education Committee today, Tuesday 3/12!  We need you to send emails & or make calls asking for  HB 3 to be amended to include Special Education funding today & tomorrow!

Hearing notice: (https://capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/86R/schedules/html/C4002019031210301.HTM)

Don’t stop calling/emailing until you hear that HB 3 has  been amended to include our kids! Please do this today if possible, but the next couple of days also ok! 

Please CALL/EMAIL the House of Representatives Public Education Committee, and your own State Senator & Representative using the links & email addresses below, provided by our friends at CTD- Coalition of Texans with Disabilities.
 
If you don’t have much time, please email this abridged version of CTD’s talking points!  Cut & paste the following into an email:
———————————-
Dear_____________,
 
HB 3 should include all disability types and be restructured to provide the most service for those who need the most support. 
Reforming special education allocations and funding weights must be part of this transformative school funding effort.
Please don’t leave students receiving special education services and supports in this broken system!
 
Your Name 
Address, Phone/Email
————————————
Thanks for your help on this critical issue! Please email me with questions/concerns! Thank you! Jacquie@texasautismsociety.org

March News

Check out our March newsletter! Read about our upcoming bike ride, Advocacy Day, support group meetings, and more!

Subscribe here.

Winner of the 2019 Bike Ride and Fun Run T-Shirt Design Contest!

We’re excited to announce the winning design for our 2019 Bike Ride and Fun Run t-shirt design contest! This sweet image was created by 8-year old Camille Olivia C. Nayve in honor of her twin brother. Our graphic design team is working on making it print-ready. Stay tuned to see the final artwork and look for it on our official event t-shirt at the Bike Ride and Fun Run on April 7, 2019!

If you haven’t registered for the ride or run yet, please visit this link to sign up – 2019autismbikeride/run

Advocacy Alert: Help us get ABA covered under Medicaid!

Please contact the following state Representatives and express your support to fund Exceptional Item 45 which would give children on Medicaid access to ABA therapy!

Please email the following people (see email sample below):

Rep. John Zerwas, Chair (R-Richmond) Appropriations Chair john.zerwas@house.texas.gov

Rep. Sarah Davis, Art ll, Chair (R-West University Place) sarah.davis@house.texas.gov

Rep. J.D. Sheffield, Art ll,Vice Chair (R-Gatesville) j.d.sheffield@house.texas.gov

Rep. Philip Cortez (D-San Antonio) philip.cortez@house.texas.gov

Rep. Cole Hefner (R-Mt. Pleasant) cole.hefner@house.texas.gov

Rep. John Turner (D-Dallas) john.turner@house.texas.gov

Please include your name & address in your email, and if you are a constituent, please let them know!

You can find out who represents you here: https://wrm.capitol.texas.gov/home

Houston area: Representative Sarah Davis, Chair of the House Subcommittee working on this, needs to hear from her constituents. Please call her office at 512-463-0389 and let them know you want to fund Exceptional Item 45.

Use the sample text below & paste into your email, or create your own.  You can also add your own comments regarding ABA if you wish to- feel free to tell about your experience and how ABA helped your child, or please let them know if your child has not been able to receive ABA but would benefit from it. Sample email text:

Please fund HHSC Exceptional Item 45 to provide children on Medicaid access to ABA therapy (Applied Behavior Analysis)! 1 in 59 children have autism and they deserve to have access to the most effective evidence-based therapy. Access to ABA therapy improves outcomes and reduces the reliance on long term services and supports. Thank you for supporting Texas children with autism.

Thank you,

Your Name (Include your address too!)

Questions? Email Jacquie at jacquie@texasautismsociety.org. Thank you for your time! The Texas Legislature only meets every 2 years and we’d love to see this pass!

To get on our Advocacy alert email list please sign up here: https://tinyurl.com/ASTAdvocacy

 

February Mid-Month Updates

Check out what’s happening! From our Bike Ride Design Contest to support and education events, we’ve got it covered!

Read it here.

Subscribe here.

Spring Volunteer Opportunities!
We have some volunteer needs this Spring! Most are in the Austin area, but if you’re outside Austin some of the tasks can be done via phone & computer, so it’s not necessary to be in Austin. Please email us for details!
1) This Sunday! Austin Marathon Aid Station: Sunday Feb. 17, 2019
We have a charity team & we’re required to run an aid station. Recommended for ages 12 & up (with an adult). We fill drink cups, cheer & hand drinks to runners. It’s a lot of fun! We’ll be at Varsity Pizza near 45th St. & Duval. Pick a shift on Sign Up Genius AND register on Eventdog to get your volunteer t-shirt! Use Sign Up Genius for the shift time! (Ignore the times on Eventdog). Thank you!
Sign up for shift time here:
Sign up here for your free volunteer tee & sign waiver:
2) Texas Autism Bike Ride & Fun Run: April 7, 2019
We need volunteers to help with planning before the event and to help with set up at the event. Info about event here: http://autismbikeride.org/
To help with planning before the event please email Ivette at Ivette@texasautismsociety.org. This would be helping to get food donated, helping organize event tees, pack goodie bags, etc.
To help at the Bike Ride & Fun Run at event  or set up that weekend, please sign up at the link here. This is to work a shift on the day of the bike ride, or to set up the day before: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090f4caea723aafe3-volunteers
Contact Ivette with any questions about the Bike Ride & Fun Run at ivette@texasautismsociety.org. Thanks!
3) Texas Autism Advocacy Day: April 26, 2019
We’re excited about our second Texas Autism Advocacy Day. We need help calling legislative offices to make appointments for attendees as well as helping organize lunch & folders with handouts for attendees. No experience necessary and we will give you step-by-step instructions on what needs to be done. Please email Jacquie at Jacquie@texasautismsociety.org if you can help in this area. Registration & details about Advocacy Day here if you’d like to attend: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/texas-autism-advocacy-day-tickets-55779249236
Thank you!
Advocacy Alert: Important Hearings 2/11 & 2/14
Get our Advocacy Emails! Sign up here.
There are 3 funding hearings next week (2 on Monday!). We would love to have more people in person testifying, and we’re happy to meet with you before or talk/email about what you should say & how testifying works! If you have a connection or personal experience it’s great to tell how this impacts you and how you’d like to see more funding for that issue/program. (You can also testify if you HAVE NOT received needed services- i.e.-special education, Medicaid waiver waitlists, or ABA).  If you want to submit written testimony for Monday we will need it by noon on Friday to get it copied in time. If you want to do it over the weekend & send it somewhere for us to pick up by Sunday night for Monday morning’s hearings, please email or call (512) 479-4199, ext. 4. We will be at all three hearings testifying.
1) Monday 2/11/19, 8 AM – House Appropriations: Healthcare/Waivers/ABA-Medicaid
Topics
-Getting ABA therapy covered under Medicaid
-Home and Community-based Services (HCS) & Community Living Assistance and Support Services (CLASS)  waiting lists reduced- request more funding so kids and adults have access to services. (And/or talk about how this helped you if you actually have a Medicaid waiver & ask for funding so other children/adults can receive services & supports!)
-Restore therapist wage cuts (there were cuts 2 sessions ago & Medicaid is reimbursing therapists at such a low rate that therapy centers that take Medicaid are closing or have already closed)
2) Monday 2/11/19, 10 AM – Senate Finance: Education/Special Education
Topics
-Fund TEA’s Corrective Action Plan: Senate Bill 1, DOES NOT include the request by the Texas Education Agency for $50 million in extra funds for compensatory services for those students with disabilities harmed by the illegal 8.5% monitoring indicator.
-Ask for funding related to any issue you see that’s impacted you/your child/your school in special education or education
3) Thursday 2/14/19, 8:00 AM – House Appropriations: Early Childhood Intervention (ECI)
Topics
-Fund ECI (Early Childhood Intervention) – tell why funding is needed. Did your child use ECI? How did it help? Request funding so more kids get help early!
-Add more funding because rural providers of ECI are quitting.
-Restore therapist wage cuts in order to have enough therapists
**This hearing is in JHR which is the Reagan building on the back lawn of the Capitol**
Testifying or turning in written testimony:
You are allowed to testify for up to 3 minutes, although it often gets cut to 2 minutes, so be prepared! The hearings sometimes go until late in the night as well although you can register to testify & come back later. If you can’t stay to testify, you can also come and turn in written testimony, which must include your name, and you have to provide 40 copies of the written testimony if you don’t plan to stay & testify in person! If you send written testimony to me I can turn it in, but I need the following:
-Put your comments/statements on one page in an email to me. Not an attachment!
-At the top of the email, include your name, phone, email, address and business name -all on one line. (Keep all text one page).
-The subject of your email and included in the email itself should be “”Please submit to the _____________Hearing” (Fill in name of the hearing from the web links provided above).
Capitol Address: 1100 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701
Capitol Visitor Parking Garage address: 1201 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin, TX 78701
Here are some great tips on testifying from Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities:
Please email Jacquie@texasautismsociety.org or call 512-479-4199, ext. 4 if you are interested in testifying or turning in written testimony. We’re happy to set up a phone call or meet so we can provide more resources & information & help with talking points. Thank you.
Update On T-Shirt Design Contest!

Due to an overwhelming amount of inquiries about the t-shirt design contest, we have decided to also accept entries from immediate family members of individuals with autism. Honor someone special with your artwork!

Now Accepting Sponsorship for the 2019 Texas Autism Bike Ride and Fun Run

SPONSORSHIP BENEFITS & INFORMATION

Your generous gift would be used to offset costs for the event. By helping us cover some of the ride’s expenses, you’ll enable us to direct most of the participants’ fees and all of the funds they raise toward our mission of “improving the lives of all affected by autism”. If you’d like to sponsor by check, please make check payable to the Autism Society of Texas and mail to 300 E. Highland Mall Blvd., Suite 205, Austin, TX 78752. Thank you!

Download our Sponsorship Packet: AST 2019 BikeRide_FunRun Sponsorship Packet

Platinum Jersey: $10,000

  • Media Exposure including press release, sponsorship announcement, and feature article on our affiliate website and event page
  • Your logo prominently on event poster
  • Your logo with clickable link on our event page
  • Framed 2019 Limited Edition Cycling Jersey
  • Your business logo prominently on our event banner and participant t-shirt
  • Prime location display space at Resource Fair
  • Opportunity to supply coupons, ads, and/or product samples for participants’ swag bags
  • Official rider entry including t-shirt
  • Social media and on site recognition
  • Recognition at an Event Pavillion
  • Your company banner at a rest stop (banner provided by you)
 

Gold Jersey: $5,000

  • Your logo on event poster
  • Your logo with clickable link on our event page
  • Framed 2019 Limited Edition Cycling Jersey
  • Your business logo on our event banner and participant t-shirt
  • Display space at Resource Fair
  • Opportunity to supply coupons, ads, and/or product samples for participants’ swag  bags
  • Official rider entry including t-shirt
  • Social media and onsite recognition
  • Recognition at an Event Pavillion
  • Your company banner at a rest stop (banner provided by you)

Diamond Jersey: $3,000

  • Your logo on event poster
  • Your logo with clickable link on our event page
  • One 2019 Limited Edition Cycling Jersey
  • Your business logo on our event banner and participant t-shirt
  • Display space at Resource Fair
  • Opportunity to supply coupons, ads, and/or product samples for participants’ swag bags
  • Official rider entry including t-shirt
  • Social media and onsite recognition
  • Recognition at an Event Pavilion
  • Your company banner at a rest stop (banner provided by you)

Silver Jersey: $2,000

  • Your logo on event poster
  • Your logo with clickable link on our event page
  • One 2019 Limited Edition Cycling Jersey
  • Your business logo on our event banner and participant t-shirt
  • Display space at Resource Fair
  • Opportunity to supply coupons, ads, and/or product samples for participants’ swag bags
  • Official rider entry including t-shirt
  • Social media and onsite recognition

Bronze Jersey: $1,000

  • Your logo on event poster
  • Your logo with clickable link on our event page
  • One 2019 Limited Edition Cycling Jersey
  • Your business logo on our event banner and participant t-shirt
  • Opportunity to supply coupons, ads, and/or product samples for participants’ swag bags
  • Official rider entry including t-shirt
  • Social media and onsite recognition

Sponsor-A-Mile: $500

  • Miles are assigned on a first come, first served basis**
  • Sign with your business logo at start of mile
  • Your BUSINESS NAME on event poster
  • Your logo on our event page
  • Your business logo on our participant t-shirt
  • Social media recognition
  • A portion of your sponsorship will be directed to the Hunter Hinze Scholarship Fund*

Sponsor-A-Mile: $250

  • Miles are assigned on a first come, first served basis**
  • Sign with your business logo at start of mile
  • Your BUSINESS NAME on event poster
  • Your logo on our event page
  • Your business logo on our participant t-shirt
  • A portion of your sponsorship will be directed to the Hunter Hinze Scholarship Fund*

*To learn more about the Hunter Hinze Scholarship Fund please visit our website here.