JACKSON, Miss. (WCBI) — House Bill 542, which would require insurance to cover Autism screening, diagnosis, and treatment for state employees and teachers passed the House on a unanimous vote. For the Hood family of Ripley it is a personal victory. Quess Hood is a teacher at Ripley High School, and an advocate with Autism Speaks. His son Jasper has been diagnosed with autism. So, when it came to drumming up support for the bill, he did what a teacher would do, he helped educate the members of the House on the issue of Autism.
Hood said, “I think if you look at the Mississippi House two years ago, we didn’t get our bill out of the committee. I think what happens is when we got down there and were talking to the legislators is that they were unaware of the issue of Autism in Mississippi. And as you see this year the vote went 120 to nothing. It passed out of the House. We did a real good job educating on the House side. I’m not sure we’ve done a good job in the Senate.”
The Senate is sending the bill to the floor with an amendment, which could delay implementation for a year, to allow for further study.