By Christina A. Cassidy, Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) — Gov. Nathan Deal is proposing the state employee health plan cover treatment of autism, a move applauded by advocates who say early intervention can improve behavior and quality of life.
The governor's budget proposal released this week includes $2.4 million for the coverage, which would begin next January. Deal is also proposing about $853,000 to provide hearing aids for children under the state plan.
A group of lawmakers have been pushing bills to compel insurers in the state to provide the coverage. Reps. Ben Harbin of Evans and Ed Lindsey of Atlanta say they're grateful for the governor's proposal and hope it will help their bills pass the General Assembly this year.
Harbin says Georgia is one of only 16 states that don't require insurers to pay for autism treatment.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.
Carter proposes Georgia education budget referendum
ATLANTA (AP) — Democratic state Sen. Jason Carter has proposed a referendum allowing voters to decide whether the state's education budget should be separate from the general budget.
In a statement Thursday, Carter said that establishing what he calls an education trust fund that's separate from the state budget would help "keep the politicians from raiding it to pay for other things."
Carter first mentioned the proposal during his response to Gov. Nathan Deal's State of the State speech on Wednesday.
The proposal calls for lawmakers to first approve of a state education budget before negotiating a general appropriations budget. He says each would have to be balanced separately.
Carter says the proposed legislation would require a change to the state's constitution.
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