EXCELSIOR!* Epi Everywhere Every Day in Albany!

Tom Abinanti, Ellen Bahr, Patty Coates, Toni Taylor and Craig Bahr
L to R: Tom Abinanti, Ellen Bahr, Patty Coates, Toni Taylor, Craig Bahr and Jon Terry. Photo by Neal P. Kemp.

Read all about our recent legislative action event in Albany, and the legislators who are in support of our cause.  As Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, (D-Assembly District 51) said, “This not a Democratic or Republican issue; this is a human issue and our children deserve the best. We need to get this done!”

The Allergy Advocacy Association participated in a legislative action event in Albany on Tuesday, May 6th. The overall theme of our event was:

“LIFE-THREATENING ALLERGIES REQUIRE LIFE-SAVING EPINEPHRINE!”

We set up our exhibit booth in the capitol concourse early in the day and passed out allergy and asthma information to many passers-by.  Among the legislators who paid us a visit were Assemblymen Steve Hawley (Assembly District 139), Ray Walter (Assembly District 146) and Senator Jose M. Serrano (Senate District 29).

There was a morning media event at the Legislative Office Building to support NYS A7791 sponsored by Assemblyman Tom Abinanti.  The bill authorizes school nurses to possess and administer auto-injectable epinephrine without a prescription in the event of an emergency, and authorizes schools to provide and maintain epinephrine auto-injectors on school property.  It is also known as the ‘nurse authorized stock epi’ bill.  Abinanti is a Democratic Assemblyman representing New York’s District 92, who knows firsthand the importance of having an Epi-PenTM at the ready during an emergency anaphylactic reaction.  “I have a 14-year-old son with autism and it turns out he has severe food allergies,” says Abinanti.  “Given my personal story with my son I immediately realized we should have Epi-PensTM available for as many kids as possible in schools,” he says.  “Hopefully my bill will come out of the health committees shortly and be voted into law.”

The assemblyman and a half-dozen of his colleagues from both political parties urged both houses of the legislature to pass bills improving access to epinephrine in NYS schools.  “This not a democratic or republican issue; this is a human issue and our children deserve the best,” said Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, (D-Assembly District 51).  “We need to get this done!”  The assemblyman is the principle assembly sponsor of A2566 that authorizes students to carry prescribed auto-injectable epinephrine in NYS schools.

Another notable sponsor of A7791 is Assemblyman Bill Nojay, from Lakeville, NY Assembly District 133.  He was very nearly a victim of anaphylaxis.  “Ten years ago I took ampicillin and nearly suffered asphyxiation.  The volunteer ambulance service EMTs administered epinephrine and saved my life,” said Nojay.  In addition to supporting Tom’s bill, Mr. Nojay is now a volunteer with the same ambulance service in his district.

Other quotes from lawmakers:

Assemblyman David Buchwald (D-Westchester, district 93)-

“This bill isn't a mandate; it simply gives school districts the option to stock the medication.”

Assemblyman David DiPietro (R-East Aurora, district 147)-

”In Albany, too many times we have too much dysfunction; it is nice when we get a bill that is a common sense bill we can support with a bipartisan effort.”

Assemblyman Joseph Saladino (D-Long Island, district 9)-

“Protect our children; get this bill passed this year; don't put our kids at any further risk!”

During Tuesday afternoon we attended meetings with many lawmakers to discuss all bills currently pending in the legislature intended to help protect the lives of children afflicted with life-threatening allergies.   On Thursday, May 8, NYS Senator Kemp Hannon (R, C, IP) 6th Senate District, chairman of the Senate Health Committee, agreed to sponsor the NASE bill.  His committee is currently revising the language of Tom’s bill into NYS Senate bill S7262.

Our association hopes that this will be the year to finally get legislation passed in NY to improve access to epinephrine in all school districts large or small, rural or urban.

To find one’s NY State Assembly member and contact information, visit http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/?sh=search

To find one’s NY State Senator and contact information, fill out the box in the top left corner on the following Web page:
http://www.nysenate.gov/senators

Send copies of all correspondence related to NYS bill A07791 to Assemblyman Abinanti at LOB 631, Albany, NY 12248.

*Excelsior is a Latin adjective meaning "higher" or "loftier", used in English as an interjection with a poetic meaning of "ever upward."  It is the state motto for New York.

 

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