2006 Mid Year Update

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CHADD Federal 2006 Mid-year Update


At the midway point in 2006, we want to recap for you CHADD’s Public Policy efforts on behalf of persons dealing with AD/HD.  We thank all of our members who responded to our calls to action on various issues facing Congress.  Our successes depend on you and you came through every time.  Thanks again for all your help!

Funding for CHADD's National Resource Center on AD/HD 
The National Resource Center on AD/HD was created by Congress in 2001 and is funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to meet the information needs of both professionals and the general public about AD/HD.  2006 started out with the Administration’s FY 2007 Budget proposing to eliminate the NRC.  In February, CHADD alerted you to this cut and urged you to fight it.  You responded by sending over 7,000 emails into Congressional offices supporting continued funding for the NRC.  CHADD then joined other advocacy groups to push the Senate to increase healthcare spending levels for FY ’07.  Again, your emails were critical in helping pass the Specter/Harkin Amendment to the Senate Budget Resolution that increased healthcare spending by $7.0 billion.   A similar effort saw a more modest $4.0 billion increase in the House budget resolution.  The budget resolutions adopted by each house set the overall spending limits for each federal department.
 
In May, CHADD lead the 50-member External Partners Group of the National Centers for Birth Defects & Developmental Disabilities in organizing a briefing for members of Congress on CDC-funded programs, including the NRC.  Later, the House Appropriations Subcommittee that sets spending levels for the CDC considered HR 5647, the FY 2007 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill and thanks to CHADD members in the districts of those subcommittee members, CHADD managed to secure language that continues CDC funding for the NRC in 2007.  The full House Appropriations Committee has approved HR 5647 with the NRC funding and the bill now awaits floor consideration. 

In the Senate, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved their version of the Labor-HHS Appropriations bill, S. 3708.  This bill also continues funding for the NRC at last year’s level.  Full Senate consideration of S. 3708 is next.
 
FDA Hearings
Two Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Advisory Panels met to consider the potential of adverse side effects of medications for treating AD/HD.  The first panel met in February and in a surprise move recommended by a vote of 8 to 7 (there was one abstention) the most severe action possible by the FDA, a Black Box warning.  This triggered widespread discussion about the true and perceived affects of the medications, and when a second panel met in March, that panel rebuffed by a unanimous decision the idea of Black Box warning.  While the recommendations of FDA Advisory Panels carry weight with the FDA, the FDA is not bound to implement those recommendations.  CHADD arranged for expert speakers on AD/HD to testify at both FDA hearings.
 
In addition, CHADD staff members Clarke Ross (CEO) and Paul Seifert (Dir of Public Policy) met with Dan Donovan and Nick Podsiadly, Investigators for the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance chaired by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) on the senator’s interest in FDA issues.
 
Sex Offender Registry
Congress approved and President Bush signed into law legislation that would create a national sex offender registry of convicted sex offenders.  The legislation passed was in response to recent spate of sexually-oriented crimes against minors.  After long and difficult negotiations between key House and Senate members, an agreement was reached that creates a system to track convicted sexual predators, strengthens federal penalties for sex crimes against minors, and punishes predators who fail to register, or keep current their registration, with state Sexually Violent Predator programs.  CHADD supports efforts to combat all crimes against children but was concerned that certain provisions of the House bill unfairly stigmatized children by (a) placing juveniles under 14 years old and under on a public registry for life; (b) including persons who are not violent, predatory, or habitual offenders and (c) barring a person from petitioning for removal from the registry, denying them an opportunity to prove that they are not a threat to society.

Below are the key details in the final bill as worked out between the House and Senate and signed by the President.

Definition of Sex Offender: "the term sex offender means an individual who was convicted of a sex offense."   Caution however, in that the definition of "convicted" includes "adjudicated delinquent as a juvenile for that offense, but only if the offender is 14 years of age or older at the time of the offense and the offense adjudicated was comparable to or more severe that aggravated sexual abuse, or was an attempt or conspiracy to commit such an offense.

Definition of Aggravated Sexual Abuse:  includes, use of force, threat, intoxicants or drugs to commit engage in a sexual act 

Definition of Sexual Act:  Includes 1) intercourse, 2) oral contact to genitalia or anus, 2) digital penetration of genitalia or anus, and 4) touching of the genitalia of a person < 16 years of age

Tier 1 Definition - not a tier II or tier III sex offender; registration period 15 years; annually, in person
Tier 2 - includes sexual contact with a person < 12 years of age  (even by a 14 year old); registration period 25 years; every 6 months,  in person
Tier 3 - Offense punishable by more than 1 year; offense was aggrevated sexual abuse (as defined above), or abusive sexual contact against a minor who had not attained the age of 13.  Again, this includes offenders who are 14 to 18 years of age.  Registration period is life. Every 3 months, in person.

Duration of Registration Requirement
(a) Full Registration Period- A sex offender shall keep the registration current for the full registration period (excluding any time the sex offender is in custody or civilly committed) unless the offender is allowed a reduction under subsection (b). The full registration period is--

(1) 15 years, if the offender is a tier I sex offender;
(2) 25 years, if the offender is a tier II sex offender; and
(3) the life of the offender, if the offender is a tier III sex offender.

(b) Reduced Period for Clean Record-
(1) CLEAN RECORD- The full registration period shall be reduced as described in paragraph (3) for a sex offender who maintains a clean record for the period described in paragraph (2) by--

(A) not being convicted of any offense for which imprisonment for more than 1 year may be imposed;
(B) not being convicted of any sex offense;
(C) successfully completing any periods of supervised release, probation, and parole; and
(D) successfully completing of an appropriate sex offender treatment program certified by a jurisdiction or by the Attorney General.

(2) PERIOD- In the case of--
(A) a tier I sex offender, the period during which the clean record shall be maintained is 10 years; and
(B) a tier III sex offender adjudicated delinquent for the offense which required registration in a sex registry under this title, the period during which the clean record shall be maintained is 25 years.

(3) REDUCTION- In the case of--
(A) a tier I sex offender, the reduction is 5 years;
(B) a tier III sex offender adjudicated delinquent, the reduction is from life to that period for which the clean record under paragraph (2) is maintained.

Child Predator - Definition includes any conduct that is a sex offense against a minor (this includes those offenders 14 - 18 years of age whose victims are minors) 

Public Information:  Information about Tier 1 offenders can be declared non-public by a state if the offense was other than a specified offense against a minor.  Offender's employer or educational institution where they are a student can be exempt from disclosure at the discretion of the state. 

Public Disclosure - the National Sex Offender Public Website only includes those defined in this Act as a sex offender, and those "other persons" listed on a jurisdiction's Internet Site.   Note that this means that some juveniles that are on a state's non-public registry that DO fit the definition of sex offender in this Act will be placed on the National Registry, publicly.  Note that those juveniles that are on a state's non-public web site that DO NOT fit the definition of sex offender in this Act will be placed on the National Sex Offender Registry, but information will NOT be made public on the website.

Small Business Health Insurance Bill
Health insurance benefits for AD/HD treatment were endangered by legislation considered, but rejected, by the US Senate.  The bill proposed to help small businesses provide health care to employees but actually would have gutted state health care protections for individuals with special health care needs like AD/HD.  S. 1955 (Sen. Enzi, R-WYO), would have left people underinsured, without comprehensive coverage, and would have allowed insurers to raise premiums for older workers and those with more intensive health care needs.  S. 1955 would have overridden most progressive state mental health parity laws and other mandated benefits in favor of a "one-size fits all" federal government mandate on states.  A proposed alternative, S. 2510, addressed the problem of the uninsured in small businesses by allowing employees to buy into large pools modeled on the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program and maintains the applicability of all state parity laws and mandated benefit laws.  However, that bill was also defeated.  CHADD alerted you about the threat posed by S. 2510 and your emails to your Senators urging NO votes on S. 1955 and YES votes on S. 2510 helped avert passage of this dangerous bill.

IDEA Regulations
The US Department of Education is still developing regulations to implement the most recent reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA.  No word yet on when those new regulations might be published.  When they are, CHADD members most likely have 30 to 60 days to comment.  As soon as they are released for comment, CHADD Public Policy Department and the CHADD Public Policy Committee will analyze them and develop comments for CHADD members to send to the Dept. of Ed.

Survey of Adults with AD/HD
The recently concluded Survey of Adults with AD/HD yielded spectacular results as over 1,300 people responded.  We are compiling the results and will post them on the newly redesigned website soon.

Miscellaneous
CHADD joined the National Mental Health Association in challenging misrepresentations by the Oregon Center on Drug Effectiveness and Consumer Reports for advocating for the lowest cost generic medication for the treatment of AD/HD.

CHADD is a leader of the Annapolis Coalition on Behavioral Health Workforce’s Committee on Families and Consumers in designing and proposing changes in medical school training programs.  These proposed changes are included the HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) report, A Thousand Voices: The National Action Plan on Behavioral Health Workforce Development: A Framework for Discussion.  CHADD participated in the July 21-22, 2006 SAMHSA meeting on this report.