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Supporters of Senate Bill 55 Created a Colorful Display in the Capitol Rotunda

Supporters of a bill to get insurers to cover children with Autism created a colorful display in the capitol rotunda this morning.

A group of parents, children and employees from Home Depot met in the capitol rotunda this morning to construct a large crate in the shape of the state of Utah. Then they filled the structure with more than 18,000 colorful plastic balls. Mirella Petersen, President of the Utah Autism Coalition, explained the purpose of the exhibit.

The rate of children with autism in Utah is significantly higher than the national average. But Utah is one of just 18 states that doesn’t require insurers to cover children with the disorder. Petersen’s group was on hand to support Senate Bill 55, which would require testing and treatment of autism spectrum disorder.

The sponsor of the bill, Republican Senator Brian Shiozawa of Salt Lake, says that the display was intended to send the message that identifying and treating autism makes a difference.

He lauded Home Depot, who donated materials and staff time for the creation of the capitol rotunda display.

Senate Bill 55 was approved by the Senate Business and Labor Committee on Thursday on a 5-2 vote, despite concerns by some lawmakers that the costs were too high.

Shiozawa says that he’s optimistic the bill will pass.