State lawmakers make compromise on autism bill

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ATLANTA, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Key lawmakers from both the Georgia House and Senate came to a compromise about the state’s proposed autism bill on Thursday.

The mother of the little girl who inspired the bill says she isn’t giving up hope, even after the House Insurance Chairman announced he wasn’t allowing his committee to vote on Senate Bill 1.

Senator Charlie Bethel and Representative Richard Smith agreed to use a 0.2 percent general tax to finance autism insurance. Chairman Smith claims this tax will raise about $200 to 300 million. The two lawmakers say the plan won’t hurt small businesses with taxes, but will protect Georgia’s children.

This all started seven years ago with Ava Bullard. Her mother, Anna, tells 41NBC she saw how much her little girl benefited from the autism treatment. She doesn’t understand why Chairman Smith called the legislation "bad policy," and didn’t want his committee to vote on SB 1, also known as "Ava’s Law."

"I’m frustrated with Georgia right now. I’m frustrated with Georgia’s process. This whole blocking votes and playing games with the lives of children," explained Anna.

The last day of the 2015 Georgia General Assembly is next Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.