Almost four months after the autistic teen disappeared from his Queens, N.Y., public school and one week after his remains were found along the shore of the East River, Avonte Oquendo was laid to rest Saturday.
Monday, Sen. Chuck Schumer introduced a bill aimed at preventing it from happening again.
Schumer unveiled “Avonte’s Law” with the boy’s mother standing by his side. His bill would permit law-enforcement agencies to place a GPS device on autistic children so that if they disappear, they can be found quickly and returned home to safety. The devices could be worn around children’s wrists, attached to their shoelaces, or even sewn into their clothing. Schumer described his plan as a “high-tech solution to an age-old problem.”
Autism is a brain development disorder that affects 1 in 88 children, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Common symptoms of autism include cognitive, language and behavioral disabilities with variations in severity.
Wandering is a particular challenge for many parents of children with autism. According to The New York Times, since 2011, 41 U.S. children with autism have died after wandering off.
“Eventually we had to put locks on top of doors, and that’s how people with autism live,” said Michael Rosen, executive director of Autism Speaks, of his own son, Nicky. “You can’t turn your back for one second.”
Schumer’s bill would fill a gap left by the the federal Amber Alert system, which can be used onlyh for children who have been abducted and does not extend to children who have wandered off.
With funding from the Justice Department, the program would be voluntary and free for participants and would be implemented by local police departments.
The bill is modeled after a federal program created to track Alzheimer’s patients.
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As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."
President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.
In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is "is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates", including "Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008."
"A Senate bill to gut Obamacare would increase the number of uninsured people by 32 million and double premiums on Obamacare's exchanges by 2026, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The analysis is of a bill that passed Congress in 2015 that would repeal Obamacare's taxes and some of the mandates. Republicans intend to leave Obamacare in place for two years while a replacement is crafted and implemented."