(Wieckowski, D-Fremont)

By Don C. Reed

AB 190 is a creative funding mechanism for the California spinal cord injury research program—which virtually ALL Republican legislators
(and Democrats too) have supported for over a decade.

California’s spinal cord injury research program was
established by the Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act of 1999, named
after my paralyzed son. Small but effective, “Roman’s law” has been twice
renewed by near-unanimous majorities. In 2004 it earned every legislator’s vote
except one; in 2009 it received every vote on both sides of the aisle.
Administered by the University of California system, the Roman Reed program is
headquartered at UC Irvine.

Times being what they are, however, there is no tax money
for it.

AB 190, a non-tax measure, would provide funding to continue
the successful program.

Here are five reasons why AB 190 should be approved.

1.      AB 190 is fiscally prudent, with zero tax impact; the
spinal cord injury research program it supports will be funded by a modest ($3)
fine on traffic violations, similar to state programs in Kentucky, South
Carolina, and other states. This is an appropriate nexus of funding, because
car crash is a major cause of spinal cord injury paralysis.

2.      AB 190 is NOT “another stem cell program”. Of 151 projects funded in the ten years of the program’s existence, only nine (9)
involved stem cells:  five adult, four embryonic (using President Bush’s approved stem cell lines).  Since 2008, no stem
cell projects have been funded.

3.      AB 190 supports a research program that  is revenue positive: for its
investment of $14.6 million dollars over ten years, a return of nearly $64
million ($63, 867, 216) was realized in add-on grants from the National
Institutes of Health and other sources: new money for California.

4.      AB 190 strongly supports biomedicine, one of the
mainstays of the modern California economy, already our number two industry,
and vital to our state’s recovery.

5.      Even the smallest improvement in a paralyzed person’s
life benefits taxpayers. Due to the staggering costs of paralysis (averaging
$775,000 in the first year alone) most patients end up on Medi-Cal and
Medicare. Recovering the use of arm muscles, for example, might allow a
paralyzed person to drive, increasing his/her independence, and lowering
attendant costs.

Important: a misunderstanding has arisen that AB 190
funds would go to the Roman Reed Foundation. This is not correct. The Roman
Reed Foundation is a private entity which raises funds for paralysis research,
primarily through sporting events.  It has no connection to Assembly Bill 190.

Want to Help? Send a FAX to two Republicans on the Public Safety Committee, which will be hearing the bill, probably Tuesday.

Chairman Steve Knight: FAX 916-319-2136

Assemblymember Curt Hagman: FAX 916-319-2160

For more information and the other committee members, look at the previous couple issues of this blog.

And thank you!

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