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Headline Roundup: Autism Coverage Legislation; Woman Dies In House Fire After Assault; More

North Carolina-regulated health insurance plans would be required to cover autism diagnosis and treatment under legislation that has support from a number of advocacy groups and now most state Senators.

The Senate voted 47-1 today to back the insurance mandate. The agreement was hammered out by several medical organizations, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, the state's largest insurer. The bill does allow insurers to limit treatment to patients under 18 years old and set a coverage ceiling of $40,000 per year.

The requirement would cover a range of services, and not just one kind of therapy as a 2013 House bill required.

One national group - Autism Speaks - has not endorsed the measure and wants changes made in the House, the bill's next stop.

Woman Dies In House Fire After Assault
A woman has died and a man has been taken to the hospital after a fire at a home in Charlotte.

Police say the woman's two daughters escaped the fire that was reported around 7:15 a.m. today.

Police told local media outlets that the woman was home with her daughters when the man kicked in the door and attacked the woman with whom he was in a relationship. He then set the house on fire.

She died at the scene. The man was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. The daughters escaped and called authorities.

Gun Rights Advocates Push For Expanded Carry Provisions
Advocates for gun rights in North Carolina are pushing to expand who can carry loaded weapons and where they can do so.

A House committee reviewed and advanced legislation Tuesday to block schools from telling permitted concealed handgun owners they cannot store a weapon in their car. It also would reduce the penalty for taking guns into businesses that want to keep them out.

The proposal also would allow the state agriculture commissioner to prohibit visitors to the annual State Fair from carrying guns at the fairgrounds. Also, doctors could not ask about gun ownership on an intake questionnaire.

People convicted of misdemeanor crimes would become eligible again for a concealed handgun permit after three years, except for domestic violence offenders.

The measure now goes to the entire House.

Friendship 9 Honored By SC Legislature
The South Carolina Legislature is honoring nine men who went to jail to protest segregated lunch counters in Rock Hill at the beginning of the civil rights movement.

Members of the Friendship 9 were in Columbia on Tuesday. They attended a meeting of the Legislative Black Caucus before being honored in the House and Senate.

Twelve other black lawmakers joined Rep. John King on the House floor. The Democrat from Rock Hill says the lawmakers owed their ability to serve to the courage of the group convicted in 1961 of trespassing when they refused to leave a "whites only" lunch counter.

The men could have paid a $100 fine, but they chose instead to spend 30 days in jail to protest the law.

Legislation Removing Burdens Preventing NC Foster Children From Social Activities Moves To House
Children in foster care in North Carolina could soon have new leeway to do things most teenagers get to do like learning to drive, going to prom or having a sleepover at a friend's house.

The state Senate voted unanimously Tuesday for legislation designed to remove burdens that prevent foster children from participating in extracurricular or social activities. Supporters say those actions often must be pre-approved by a court or county social service office. The measure also allows the children to buy car insurance so they can drive. Family policies do not cover them.

The measure now goes to the House.

CHS Testing One Patient For Ebola
Carolinas HealthCare System's flagship hospital in Charlotte is testing a patient for Ebola. The hospital system is not revealing the patient's identity as of now. In a statement, Carolinas HealthCare said the patient had been in one of the west African countries affected by the recent Ebola outbreak, and the patient is now showing some symptoms associated with the deadly disease. The patient is currently in a special unit at Carolinas Medical Center near uptown.