Hello all, THIS ONE IS CRITICAL
Well, the news is both really good and really challenging. It looks like we have a very good chance of gaining inclusion in the House's Budget Bill for Higher Education. This is fabulous and further than we've ever gotten before. In simple terms, it appears we may have passed on the House side. We have yet to know whether we will gain inclusion on the Senate side, but should have a committee hearing scheduled sometime in the coming weeks. Bills in MN have to be
mirrored in both the House and Senate to make it into law.
And herein lies the challenge. We do not yet know how much will be appropriated, in other words how much money will be committed to funding research. And that's why we need you, your family, friends and co-workers now more than ever to call, email or write the legislators I will list below.
Before I do that I want to tell you something that happened in one of our last committee hearings. In preparation for committee hearings we meet with our Bill author and give them talking points to use as they see fit for their introduction of the bill to the committee. In this case it was Rep. Rod Hamilton. He is our author and enthusiastic champion in the House.
Well he didn't use any of the talking points we put together. He addressed the committee and said simply, in my paraphrased recollected quotes: 'this is what its all about, and why we're here'...and 'this is a true grassroots effort by folks who got together with something they care about and have come up here to try and make some change'...and 'its time to pass this bill, that's why we're here'. The committee hearing ended with tears, a few hugs (between legislators) and plenty of excitement on our part from the unanimous support.
I'm telling you this because its true. This is a grassroots effort 5 years in the making and right now we have the best shot at passing this Bill. So we REALLY NEED TO GROW OUR GRASS AND DEEPEN OUR ROOTS. Please call, email or write (in that order of importance) the legislators below and ask your friends and family to do the same so that our voices are heard loud and clear. Tell them this:
"Please pass the Spinal Cord Injury/Traumatic Brain Injury Research Grant Program fully funded at the $8 million dollar appropriation request so that we can accelerate the research that seeks to provide functional improvement to those living with these injuries" (House File #777 when addressing Representatives or Senate File #766 when addressing Senators)
Rep. Bud Nornes Chair of Higher Ed. Committee in the House
Rep. Rod Hamilton our author and champion in the House
Rep. Jim Knoblach Chair of House Ways and Means
Sen. Terri Bonoff Chair of Higher Ed. Committee in the Senate
Sen. John Hoffman our author and champion in the Senate
Sen. Richard Cohen Chair of Senate Finance Committee
Let's All make this happen! And if anyone wants to join us at the Capitol, we'll be there on
Wednesday the 25th at 10am. You can join us as we talk with legislators. email us at
email@example.com and we'll tell you where to meet up.
We have our first Committee Hearing in the House tomorrow, Tuesday 3/3 at 2:45 in Room 5 of the State Office Building: http://mn.gov/admin/images/sob-1.pdf We will be heard in the Higher Education Policy and Finance Committee. This one will be more of a challenge than our previous 2 hearings. We have met with all but a few of the legislators on the committee, and a couple of them are not supportive.
The upside is that the Committee Chair and a number of members have signed on as co-authors of the Bill and our author, Representative Hamilton is an enthusiastic champion.
Once again I’m asking that you call if you can and email if you can’t call the following legislators. There are again 3 things that we want to convey:
Beyond the SCI/TBI communities themselves there is no greater beneficiary than the State due to the likelihood of increased grant awards from the National Institutes of Health and following a treatment innovation an enormous reduction in the costs of care.
Many of the current innovations in the field have come as a result of state seeded funding programs such as we are proposing.
The advisory commission the Bill would establish would insure transparency, no duplication and provide a critically important community voice at the decision making table.
Here they are…I know there’s a lot. The legislators in BOLD are co-authors, so if you can’t contact all, focus on those not in bold:
Representative Bud Nornes (Committee Chair whose district has the headquarters of the Spinal Cord Society in Fergus Falls): 651-296-4946 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. O’Neil: 651-296-5063 email@example.com
Rep. Pelowski: 651-296-8637 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Barrett: 651-296-5377 email@example.com
Rep. Bernardy: 651-296-5510 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Christensen: 651-296-4212 email@example.com
Rep. Daniels: 651-296-8237 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Gruenhagen: 651-296-4229 email@example.com
Rep. Heintzeman: 651-296-4333 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Isaacson: 651-296-7153 email@example.com
Rep. Lien: 651-296-5515 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. McDonald: 651-296-4336 email@example.com
Rep. Norton: 651-296-9249 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Pugh: 651-296-4315 email@example.com
Rep. Rosenthal: 651-296-7803 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Whelan: 651-296-1729 email@example.com
Rep. Winkler: 651-296-7026 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Knoblach: 651-296-6612 rep.jim.knoblach
Thanks for your help…and if you haven’t, share this with your friends.We can do this together