By Don C. Reed
Assembly Bill 214, The Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act, authored by Assembly Speaker pro Tem Kevin Mullin, was placed “on consent” for today’s Assembly Health Committee Agenda. That means it does not require a formal presentation and testimony. This is a great first step for this important bill!
As the father of Roman Reed, legendary patient advocate for paralysis research, I want to express deep appreciation for the efforts of Assemblymember Mullin and his key legislative aides Andrew Zingale and Susan Kennedy.
We in the paralysis research community will remember Assemblymember Mullin’s leadership.
When he introduced the bill on January 15th, 2019, Assemblymember Mullin said:
“I am very excited to be working with Roman Reed and many other advocates to restore state funding for the Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act,” Mullin stated. “Sadly, efforts to continue this funding stream that expired in 2011 have failed and critical research in this area has suffered. The absence of state funds has limited the programs ability to attract private investment, limiting the work being done.”
The Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act was originally established in 2000 and was subsequently renewed in 2004. The program, based at the University of California Irvine has continued its work, but on a smaller scale. According to the Reeve-Irvine Research Center, the earlier allocations of approximately $15 million in state funding allowed the program to leverage over $80 million in new grants benefitting virtually all California spinal cord scientists.
Bob Klein, the Chairman of American’s For Cure Action Network had this to say about the introduction of AB 214, “The Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act urgently needs to be renewed. With the breakthroughs in restoring upper body strength and capacity for quadriplegics, the potential for dramatically improving the lives of spinal cord patients has been clearly demonstrated. The Roman Reed Act drives forward cutting-edge research and rehabilitation techniques, built on research, that can amplify, enhance, and sustain the benefits from each of these new therapies. Each incremental gain through rehabilitation restores the scope of life and potential to spinal cord injury patients, young and old, who tragically have been robbed of their robust participation in the life of their family and communities.” –Bob Klein
“California has long been known for its cutting edge efforts in medical research and biotechnology” Mullin said. “Let’s not forget, we are home to the ‘Birthplace of Biotechnology’ and many resulting breakthroughs have occurred at our outstanding universities and teaching hospitals through the financial support from research grants that have been leveraged. It’s time to reinstate state funding so these efforts can continue.”
AB 214, if it passes, will mean $5 million dollars for research aimed at ending the scourge of paralysis — and it will only be possible with the assistance of forward-looking legislators like Speaker pro Tem Mullin.
AB 214 still faces a series of committee hearings, which it must pass.
Letters of support are welcome and important! Send yours to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below is more information about AB 214.
CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE — 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION
ASSEMBLY BILL №214
Introduced by Assembly Member Mullin on January 15, 2019
An act relating to the Spinal Cord Injury Research Program, and making an appropriation therefor.
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST
AB 214, as introduced, Mullin. The Spinal Cord Injury Research Program.
Existing law, the Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act of 1999, creates the Spinal Cord Injury Research Program within the University of California and authorizes the university to establish a spinal cord injury research fund, independent of the State Treasury, to accept public and private funds for purposes of spinal cord injury research, as specified.
This bill would appropriate $5,000,000 from the General Fund to the spinal cord injury research fund authorized by the act.
Vote: 2/3 Appropriation: yes Fiscal Committee: yes Local Program: no
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1. The sum of five million dollars ($5,000,000) is hereby appropriated from the General Fund to the spinal cord injury research fund authorized pursuant to the Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act of 1999.