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Bill to Help Children Suffering from Severe Allergic Reactions Heads to President’s Desk

Upton signs H.R. 2094 as designated House Speaker pro tempore, bringing the bipartisan legislation one step closer to enactment

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Washington, DC, November 6, 2013 | Lynn Turner / Nick Culp (269-385-0039 / 202-225-3761) | comments
Nearly 6 million children in the United States have food allergies – that is roughly two students in every classroom. Anaphylaxis, a serious form of allergic reaction, can be fatal in a matter of minutes. In the event of an allergic reaction, epinephrine can be used to stop deadly swelling of the throat and tongue that occurs in an anaphylactic reaction, but time is of the essence.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, praised the advancement of H.R. 2094, the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act, which supports our nation’s schools as they work to ensure they have the capability to treat severe allergic reactions.

“When the difference between life and death comes down to a matter of minutes, ensuring our schools have the emergency resources they need on site is crucial,” said Upton. “It is still haunting that long-time family friends tragically lost their son at a school event in Southwest Michigan due to an allergic reaction. There was no EpiPen and despite heroic efforts he died. This incentive for schools will indeed save countless lives.”

“A child having a serious allergic reaction in the classroom is a parent and teacher’s worst nightmare, and unfortunately it is a problem that has become all too common. I applaud the Senate for following the House in getting this bill across the finish line and to the President’s desk. This bipartisan bill goes a long way to keep our classrooms safe and saving untold young lives in the process.”

H.R. 2094 passed the House of Representatives on July 30 after being unanimously approved by Upton’s Energy and Commerce Committee. The Senate followed the House’s lead by approving the bipartisan legislation last week. Today, by appointment as House Speaker pro tempore, Upton signed H.R. 2094, certifying the House’s approval of the bill and thereby allowing it to advance to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

The legislation has been widely praised by advocates of children with severe allergic reactions, including Food Allergic Families & Friends (FAFF) of Southwest Michigan, which has more than 50 member-families in the region.

“We are thrilled with this lifesaving legislation, which helps schools access emergency medicine for severe allergic reactions, when every second counts,” said Sarah Swallow Beuker of Portage, Michigan, founder and moderator of FAFF.

“We hope Michigan will adopt a law as urged by this Act, helping the many children who will experience their first severe allergic reaction at school and helping prevent the allergy-related deaths that occur each year in schools.” 

Coauthored by Congressman Phil Roe (R-TN) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), H.R. 2094 will provide an incentive for states to allow schools to maintain an emergency supply of epinephrine auto-injectors and permit trained school personnel to administer a non-student specific epinephrine shot in case of an emergency. The legislation also requires states to review their own civil liability protection laws to ensure there is adequate protection for school personnel authorized to aid students.

The President is expected to sign H.R. 2094 into law as early as next week.
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