Saturday, April 7, 2007

Senate Bill 148, Saving the Cure Act

This week I received a thank you from Senator David Shafer (pictured to the left) for my blog entry on Senate Bill 148, Saving the Cure Act, which he sponsored. Honestly, I was surprised that Senator Shafer had discovered my blog entry regarding SB 148, but I was even more surprised that he took the time to contact me and provide me with an update on the bill. I understand that our elected officials are busy; most of them have the tasks family life along with a day job and then for 40 hectic days they serve us in the General Assembly. I hope the citizens of District 48 take notice of the thorough and dedicatedwork of Senator Shafer.

You might wonder where the idea for SB 148 originated. The bill is product of Keone Penn, who was cured of sickle cell anemia. Penn was the first recipient of an umbilical cord blood transplant, a transplant that saved his life. He has spoken to our elected officials about the battles he endured, the impact of his treatment, and having the opportunity to live sickle cell free. I don't understand how any elected official could vote against SB 148 after hearing Penn's story firsthand.

When I first discovered SB 148 from an AJC article, I did not know Keone Penn's story, and I could not imagine who, elected official or citizen, would want to oppose this bill. The bill supports NON-Embryonic Stem cell research and establishes an Umbilical Cord Blood Bank. Think of all the chances for research, all the possibilities to save lives that this bill gives to the citizens of Georgia. However, there are two groups that oppose SB 148. One group being those see the words "Stem Cell" and will not even give the bill a chance; the other group being people who support embryonic stem cell research and feel SB 148 is not enough. Since these two groups can't see past their prejudices, our support for SB 148 must outweigh theirs.

Also, check out Senator Shafer's page for Senate Bill 148, the Saving the Cure Act. As you navigate around the page you can find more information on the bill, various newspaper articles, and letters of support from citizens and organizations.

Good News: SB 148 passed through the Senate with a vote of 39 to 15. I am not going to discuss all the Senators who voted no; however, I want to spotlight two Senators: I am very disappointed in Senator Vincent Fort of District 39 (pictured to the right) for his vote of no, and I am disappointed and bothered that Nan Orrock of District 36 (pictured to the left) who serves on the Science and Technology, voted no against the bill in committee and on the Senate floor. Orrock was the only Senator on the Science and Technology committee to vote no. Senators Fort and Orrock are seasoned elected officials who in my opinion have worked to better our state, but in this instance they dropped the ball. When you have time I hope you will review the voting record for SB 148. Does your senator stand where you stand? If not, you need to voice your opinion.

The Fight: Now, SB 148 must be pass the House of Representatives. On Monday, April 9 at 2pm, SB 148 will go before the House Science and Technology Committee. SB 148 must pass through this hearing to make it to a vote on the House floor. If you are able, before 2pm on Monday, please contact the House Science and Technology Committee to let them know you want SB 148 to pass as submitted, no changes. In case you want to call the committee Monday morning feel free to call 404-657-8534 and voice your opinion. When you email the House and Technology Committee please copy Senator Shafer (David.Shafer@senate.ga.gov). For your ease, you may copy and paste the emails of the Science and Technology members from below:
amos.amerson@house.ga.gov; chuck@martinforgeorgia.com; xda92@mmm-law.com; david.casas@house.ga.gov; hardie.davis@house.ga.gov; kevinlevitas@bellsouth.net; marymargaret.oliver@house.ga.gov; barbara.reece@house.ga.gov; barry.loudermilk@house.ga.gov

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6 comments:

Sibille said...

I think it's really cool that Senator Shafer contacted you, and that he is internet savy and paying attention! I wish more elected officials were that way. Go him!

And go you for bring this to our attention!!

I agree with you that Keone Penn's story really highlights the importance of such a bill.

Danielle said...

Many people are mischaracterizing opposition to this bill. Yes, there are those who see the words stem cell and stop reading at that point. But, while I know many people who oppose this bill, I know of absolutely no one who opposes it "because it doesn't go far enough." Instead, they oppose it because of the misleading (and sometimes completely false) "findings of fact" at the beginning of the bill which are there more as an attack on embryonic stem cell research than as a necessary part of the bill.

Without said "facts", I can think of no one in the scientific community who would oppose it. I applaud Senator Fort and others for choosing not to endorse such misleading information and look forward to the day when a legislator will put forth similar legislation that does not unnecessarily attack other research. I also hope that, in this hypothetical future bill, real funding will be included - something that is not found in SB 148

Danielle said...

Ah, I've been planning a wedding and was a little behind on keeping up with this bill. It seems that a substitute was passed through the house and then approved by the Senate without the attack on embryonic stem cell research.

I noticed, in fact, that Senator Fort voted in favor of the substitute bill.

Dustin Brookshire said...

Danielle-- The Speaker of the House told Senator Shafer that he'd favor a bill more aligned with the one sponsored by Senator Johnny Isakson and offered his insight, that such a bill would probably have smooth sailing.

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