School Climate & Safety

President Obama Signs EpiPen Bill to Help Schools Fighting Allergy Attacks

By Ross Brenneman — November 14, 2013 1 min read
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President Barack Obama signed H.R. 2094 into law Wednesday evening, in a move that will reward schools for stocking epinephrine, the drug used to stop allergy attacks.

The Senate passed the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act unanimously on Nov. 1, after similar passage in the House in July.

Under the law, states applying for certain asthma-related health grants run by the U.S. Department of Education will receive higher priority if their schools stock the drug EpiPen. The law is a boon to those worried about the risks of allergy attacks in schools; peanuts, especially, have become a major public-health concern over the last two decades.

The legislation had faced limited criticism, from AASA, the School Superintendents Association, which argued that it would be costly and detrimental to grant recipients in states that don’t have anaphylactic policies.

The bill’s sponsors, Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.), celebrated the bill’s passage at a signing ceremony and, of course, on Twitter:

The representatives then promptly resumed arguing about the Affordable Care Act.

Image: President Barack Obama shakes hands with Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., in the Oval Office in Washington on Wednesday after signing a bill that offers a financial incentive to states if schools stockpile epinephrine, considered the first-line treatment for people with severe allergies. From left are, Upton, Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., the president, Amie Rappoport McKenna, Board of Directors Member, Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., John Lehr, CEO, Food and Allergy Research and Education (FARE) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Md. —Evan Vucci/AP

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.