No crossover for Autism Bill

7:57 PM, Mar 6, 2013   |    comments
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Anna Bullard, a Toombs County backer of a bill called Ava's Law, at the Georgia Capitol Tuesday.

ATLANTA, Ga. -- By the time Anna Bullard got a good piece of news, that the autism insurance bill would get a hearing, it was too late. The hearing is set for next week and will not help the bill this session.

MORE | Continuing coverage of the Autism Gap: The fight for Insurance 

It's hard to believe the beginning was just three and a half short weeks ago when House Bill 309 was introduced in the house, bright and new and shiny -- but already forces were united against it -- many insurance lobbyists and conservative lawmakers. But help would come from across the hall ten days later, with Senate Bill 191, the autism insurance bill.

The bill had a lot of supporters, but to survive under the dome, it needed the right supporters.

It's a political reality that bills die all the time,  but the bills that live, that move forward, have people who say yes to them. And for this bill there were several key lawmakers who could have said yes, but didn't.

Representative Richard Smith said no. He's the Chairman of the House Insurance Committee, where the bill was sent. He wouldn't give it a hearing. And he announced he was sending it to the Mandate Commission where it wouldn't get out.

Senator Tim Golden is the Chairman of the Senate Insurance Committee. He wouldn't give the bill a hearing, initially. He said yes this week, but the hearing is next week -- too late.

Above them -- Speaker David Ralston runs the house. He could have moved the bill. Supporters begged him to help. He would not intervene.

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle runs the senate. He could have moved the bill. Supporters begged for his help. He would not intervene.

Despite the yeses from thousands of Georgians, from medical experts, even from many lawmakers at the capitol, just a few no's spelled the end -- for this year.

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