Though progress is variable in each of the states our Cure Advocacy Network (CAN) is active in, we continue to build our movement as a squeaky wheel for curative interventions.
February has been a good month for the Cure Advocacy Network. We have made progress on every one of our state fronts. This month, I invested much of my time in getting all of our state advocates booked for individual state conference calls and am helping to guide and shape our next steps for action in each of them.
Our effort to solidify an inter-state collaborative effort continues to take hold as the Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Ohio SCI advisory boards came together for a conference call to discuss implementing a process to better network and share ideas, resources, and project feasibility. Each state’s advisory board was very receptive to the idea, and we will begin implementation planning soon.
Here are some state-specific updates currently taking place:
WISCONSIN. $10M SCI Research Funding Bill INTRODUCED in July 2019. Unfortunately, our Bill requesting $10M SCI research funding did not pass out of committee in either chamber. Our Champion and author of the Bill, Rep. Jimmy Anderson, is now looking to have our Bill included in the Governor’s budget as a strategy to maneuver this Bill through the legislature. Our conference call with Rep. Jimmy Anderson and our advocates went well. The legislative session recently concluded, so our next chance to pass our Bill won't start again until January 2021. In the meantime, Rep. Anderson is going to be identifying a few legislators across the aisle to ask their support of our Bill next session. We'll keep you posted about whom to call and when to call them in the coming months.
OHIO. $3M SCI Research Funding Allocation passed in July 2019. Two chairpersons were recently elected to Ohio’s Advisory Board: Dr. Phil Popovich, who heads the neuroscience department at Ohio State University; and Jeni Belt, an SCI Activist (and an OH CAN member) as well as a lawyer practicing health law. All the CAN advocates are eager and encouraged during monthly meetings to continue the progress that has been made. Request For Proposals (RFPs) will be due back next month (mid-March) when the review process will start, and the advisory board will begin sifting through potential projects to fund.
TEXAS. Planning and Strategy Phase. Our lead CAN advocates in Texas (Elizabeth Dierdorf, a monthly donor; and Jesus Centeno) continue to be a driving force in deepening our relationships with legislators in the Texas House. Both advocates have reached out to their respective legislators in order to discuss getting our Bill authored and submitted to the legislature. We are also starting to plan a set of days in which to meet legislators face-to-face at the state capitol.
COLORADO. Planning and Strategy Phase. Our lead advocate (Quinn Brett) continues to reach out to folks at state agencies to research the number of SCI’s and its impact on Colorado residents, so that we can reference proper numbers and statistics when we finally do start meeting with legislators.
Remember, if you want to join our chorus of CAN voices in any of these states (or a new state!), and get behind the SCI Community’s effort to fund SCI Research, you can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.