Last week, ANCOR reported that Kevin & Avonte's Law had hit a setback, but is pleased to report that in a surprise move, the House of Representatives passed the bill 346 to 66 on December 8, clearing it to go to the Senate for review. (See WICs article, "Autism Wandering Bill Hits Setback", December 5, 2016.) The bill as passed includes new language to clarify and make explicit that covered tracking devices must be "non-invasive and non-permanent" and that "the procedure to install the technology or device does not creat an external or internal marker or implant a device or other trackable items." The bill seeks to provide resources, education, and wearable trackable devices for individuals who are prone to wander due to autism, dementia, or other conditions.
The bill’s chief sponsor, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) said in a statement made during the House floor argument, “This will save lives. Wandering is a serious problem. We want to get our loved ones, find our loved ones who have developmental disabilities or have Alzheimer’s and make sure that they get back to a safe and secure environment as quickly as possible.”
The Senate had passed a version of the bill earlier this year, but now must consider the amended bill passed by the House. If the Senate approves it, the legislation will move to the President to be signed into law.