BRADFORD: NC House works to help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities

State Rep. John Bradford (R-Mecklenburg) and Matthew Schwab at the N.C. General Assembly

The North Carolina General Assembly is renewing their efforts to help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). In this legislative session, six bills addressing needs for people with IDD have been filed. Four of the pieces of legislation were introduced by Representative John R. Bradford, III of Cornelius, who represents District 98, and Mecklenburg County in the North Carolina House. Bradford has established himself as a leader in the State House for IDD related issues and has made it his priority to advance these important bills.

House Bill 340 would establish the Advisory Council on Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS) and Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS). The council would advise the Governor, Secretary of the NC Dept. of Health and Human Services, and General Assembly about research, diagnosis, treatment, and education on PANS and PANDAS.

House Bill 756 would direct the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), in consultation with the Office of State Human Resources (OSHR), to perform a study on the development and implementation of a program that encourages State agencies to employ persons with disabilities.

House Bill 642 would prohibit organ transplant discrimination on the basis of disability and make it unlawful for health care providers to deem an individual with a disability unable to receive a transplant, deny medical services related to a transplant, or refuse to put an individual with an IDD on an organ transplant waiting list.

House Bill 453 would prohibit a physician from performing an abortion unless the physician has confirmed the abortion is not being sought based on race, sex, or prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. Physicians would be required to report whether the race or sex of the unborn child or the presence of Down syndrome had been detected and to affirm, under oath, that the report was accurate.

In the state legislature, we are working hard to represent all people in North Carolina and make our state a leader in how we treat people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. North Carolina has a vibrant IDD community and it is important to have elected officials that represent their interests and advocate for them in the legislature.

This letter was co-written by Rep. John Bradford (R-Mecklenburg) and Matthew Schwab, a legislative coordinator, public speaker, and longtime advocate for people with Down syndrome.