Under the Dome

Epi-pen bill dead for this year

A bill that would require schools keep Epi-pens on hand for emergency treatment of children's severe allergic reactions won't become law this year.

Parents from around the state are pushing the bill - signing petitions and sending email - which passed unanimously in the House in April and now sits in the Senate Education Committee.

Sen. Dan Soucek, a Boone Republian and co-chairman of the committee, said the committee was concerned about putting additional regulations on school administrators and are worried about the cost.

Though Soucek said the Senate won't hear the bill this year, it's still alive for the short-session.

Virginia passed an Epi-pen law last year after a 7-year-old girl died after an allergic reaction at school.

Additionally, Soucek said, Rep. Rick Glazier, a Fayetteville Democrat and one of the bill's sponsors, couldn't supply information on the need for Epi-pens in North Carolina or reliable statistics.

Glazier paints a different picture, saying he emailed Soucek and Senate committee co-chairman Jerry Tillman repeatedly about the bill since spring, but "I didn't get as much as a polite response." School groups were okay with the bill, he said.

Republican Sen. Andrew Brock filed a similar bill, and Glazier said Brock assured him the bill would move.

Then about a week and a half ago, they asked for death data, Glazier said, and he asked parent and medical groups to send the information.

Glazier asked Soucek about the bill when both were meeting on another issue, and Soucek told him that they didn't want more regulations.

"They just sat on that bill," Glazier said. "Children will be hurt because we're not doing it."


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Misplaced priorities

Senator Soucek believes himself a leader in education, but is clearly far from that title. Having also been vocal against the School Safety Act of this session, he obviously does not understand the most basic of educational needs- having safe and healthy children in the classroom. Clearly, he believes this is not worth the minor appropriation of this bill. His priorities are most ardently in need of reevaluation.

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