Friday, September 7, 2012

California Approves Spinal Cord Injury Research Bill

A spinal cord injury research bill authored by Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) was recently approved by way of 46 to 27 voting during the California State Assembly last August 27.

The bill, titled AB 1657, aimed to raise funds to sustain a program backed by disability rights advocates, biotech industry, and neuro-scientists that provide important research into spinal cord injuries.

At present, the approved bill is awaiting Governor Jerry Brown’s approval. Once the California governor signed the bill, it will finally become a law.

While being victorious with the initial success earned by his proposed bill, Wieckowski in his statement claimed that by putting the best scientific minds to work in universities, a state of the art research that will improve the quality of life for thousands of Californians with spinal cord injury will be achieved. The bill does not only give hope to the disabled but also shows that the Golden State’s current leaders want to maintain its position in the field of bioscience, Wieckowski added.

It can be remembered that way back in 2000, the state’s program called “The Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Fund” was created. The said fund is run out of the University of California and supervised out of the Reeve-Irvine Research Center at UC Irvine.

Furthermore, it was initially funded out of the state general fund; however, upon years of budget deficit, its funding has been eliminated. Originally, for every dollar in state funds invested, $5 of federal funds was received.

Now, the bill would fund the program through a $1 penalty on every moving traffic violation. In fact, aside from California, at least seven other U.S. states use the same method to collect funds for spinal cord injury research.

Wieckowski further explained that traffic accidents are the major cause of spinal cord injuries in the county. Through the said bill, drivers are expected to become more responsible and vigilant while behind the wheel to avoid being charged with extra penalties. 

Meanwhile, advocates of the bill include the University of California, the huge industry group, Bay Bio, The California Healthcare Institute, the Boston Scientific, and other teams of medical researchers throughout the state.

Apparently, the approval of the said bill comes in line with the previous declaration of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie proclaiming the month of September as spinal cord injury awareness month. Of course, California would not miss its opportunity to show the nation that like any other states, California likewise intends to lead the way to cure paralysis, claimed a Los Angeles injury lawyer.