Matt Denn discusses the impact of Autism Delaware’s advocacy
Former Lt. Governor highlights the benefits of autism advocacy for everyone in the disability community
Published: May 26, 2023 by: Lisa Walenceus and Sarah McGuire
Matt Denn was elected Lieutenant Governor of Delaware in 2008 and served in that office from 2009 to 2015. He was Delaware's 45th Attorney General from 2015 to 2019.
Denn did not seek reelection 2019 and returned to the practice of law with DLA Piper in Wilmington. He currently serves as managing director with the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, a global venture philanthropy firm supporting early stage, high impact social enterprises.
Throughout his political career, Denn championed the needs of Delaware's vulnerable, including those of children and of the disability community.
Summary of Autism Advocacy Legislative Milestones
- HB 396 2010 –
- requirements for the appointment of educational surrogates
- Primary sponsors: Schooley, Sokola
- Signed 7/23/2010
- SB 22 2012
- This Act provides for insurance coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders.
- Primary sponsor: Sorenson
- Signed 8/13/2012
- HB365 2012
- allows parents and guardians who successfully challenge the denial of services to their children with special needs to recover the costs of expert witnesses that they needed to hire to advocate for their children.
- Primary sponsors: Q Johnson, Schooley, Heffernan, McDowell
- Signed 8/9/2012
- This bill is a result of the work of the School Discipline Task Force. The bill simplifies the mandatory report requirements for schools, ensuring that the most serious offenses shall be reported to law enforcement while giving schools discretion to handle minor offenses without mandatory reporting. The bill also requires that all relevant special education and disciplinary records for students with disabilities, as defined under federal law, be sent to law enforcement to allow for informed charging decisions.
- Primary sponsors: Barbieri, Sokola, Scott
- Signed 8/16/2012
- SB100 – Restraint and seclusion
- Based on national reports documenting misuse of seclusion and restraint within public schools, many states are adopting remedial statutory or regulatory standards. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Education issued authoritative guidance encouraging states to adopt written standards deterring use of seclusion and restraint in public schools. This bill is the product of research and deliberations of an interagency committee formed by the Governor’s Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens (GACEC) to identify best practices and develop standards for Delaware public schools.
- Primary sponsors: Sokola, Johnson
- Signed 6/26/2013
- SB 93
- CREATING AN INTERAGENCY COMMITTEE ON AUTISM AND THE DELAWARE NETWORK FOR EXCELLENCE IN AUTISM.
- Primary sponsors: Henry, Townsend, Cloutier, Jaques
- Signed 9/14/2016
- SB 33
- implement the recommendations of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Improvement Task Force.
- Primary sponsor: Poore
- Passed in 2015
- HB 60 – Able Accounts
- AN ACT TO AMEND TITLES 10 AND 16 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO SAVINGS ACCOUNTS TO SUPPORT INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES.
- Primary sponsors: Smith, Henry, Cloutier, Peterson, McDowell, Lavelle, Paradee, Heffernan, Ramone, Miro
- Signed 6/10/2015
- HB 292 – Alex Eldreth Autism Education Bill
- Primary sponsors: Jaques, Henry
- Signed 8/29/2018
- HB104 – The McNesby Act
- Primary sponsors: Smith, Townsend
- Signed 9/4/2018