At Tuesday’s Council meeting I asked the City Manager to look into providing health insurance coverage for the treatment Autism for the children of City employees (such coverage is not now provided):
One of the key focus areas of the City’s strategic plan is a safe, vibrant, and healthy community.
It has come to my attention that the City’s health insurance does not provide coverage for a treatment known as Applied Behavioral Analysis (or ABA) for children of City employees who have Autism Spectrum Disorder.
ABA is recognized as an effective treatment of Autism. In October 2015 Governor McCrory signed into law Senate Bill 676, “An Act to Provide Coverage for the Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder” to provide coverage for ABA. This law went into effect July 1, 2016.
A number of organizations supported SB 676. These include:
• The Autism Society of North Carolina
• The Arc of North Carolina
• TEACCH Autism Program
• Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development
• North Carolina Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
• North Carolina Pediatric Society
• North Carolina Psychiatric Association
• North Carolina Psychological Association
• Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
By passing Senate Bill 676 North Carolina joined more than 40 states in the Country to provide coverage for ABA.
As a consequence of wide spread recognition and support for Applied Behavioral Analysis as a treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder, I ask that staff consider adding coverage for ABA to the City’s health insurance plan in conformance with SB 676. Doing so will provide much needed support for the children and families of the City’s employees and will help us move towards our goal of a safe, vibrant, and healthy community for all – especially those of our community who are most vulnerable.
This past week Raleigh City Council held its annual retreat. During the retreat we learned the results of a formally conducted Citizens survey. More than 90% of Raleigh’s citizens rated the City as a good or excellent place to live. And citizens view Raleigh as one of the safest communities in the Country.
Now that the retreat is over, I would like to reflect on some of what makes Raleigh such a great City. To begin are Raleigh’s Citizen Advisory Councils.
Raleigh has a unique, long standing institution known as the Citizens Advisory Councils (or CACs). There are nineteen CACs in Raleigh serving nineteen different geographic regions of the City. They meet regularly at locations convenient to their region. All citizens are invited to attend and participate in those meetings to discuss matters of the day and matters affecting the lives of those who live in the area served by the CAC.
The vision of the Citizen Advisory Councils is “A better City through citizen participation.” Two key actions of the CACs are:
- Advise the Raleigh City Council on matters affecting the well-being of the citizens
- Communicate its views on relevant matters to the City Council and other governing boards, agencies, institutions and officials
Communication is not a one-way street. Communication is a dialog between Citizens and their elected officials. I attend numerous CAC meetings to hear the concerns of citizens, to ask questions, to answer questions, and to share my own thoughts and opinions about those matters that are important to my fellow citizens.
I ran for City Council because at the time I felt that some on Council were veering away from Citizen participation. I ran on the promise to not make decisions in a vacuum. That is why I attend Citizen Advisory Council meetings and that is why plan to continue to attend during my tenure on City Council.
I am convinced that men hate each other because they fear each other. They fear each other because they don’t know each other, and they don’t know each other because they don’t communicate with each other, and they don’t communicate with each other because they are separated from each other. — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I sent the following email to the City Manager just now and copied the Mayor and the rest of Council:
Last night I was informed by one of my neighbors that Z-15-16 was updated to PD on the City’s current development webpage. According to the date on the website, the update was available or posted to the website January 26. I received no notification that I am aware of about this update.
One thing that I would like to add for our retreat agenda is how council members can be notified and informed of activity that is of interest to them. As a district Councilor, I like to know when activities happen in District B. For example, when zoning requests are added or changed in District B, I would like to receive notification. Similarly, when capital improvement projects in District B are started or reach milestones, I would like to be notified. Another example is the sidewalks being installed on New Hope Church Rd. I only learned about their construction because I happened to drive by that location and noticed it.
Regarding Z-15-16, I took a look at it and I find no significant differences. It continues to allow a 50,000 square foot grocery anchor store, allows extensive other retail, continues to have a huge traffic impact, and does not address – intentionally ignores – the 40% forestation requirement. In short, the proposal changes the character of the area too much. Furthermore, this update was submitted without any interaction whatsoever with the community.
I am seriously considering making a motion at our next Council meeting to deny this case.
Raleigh City Council Member, District B