Georgia Legislators Consider Resolution to Help People with Brain and Spinal Cord Injury
Legislation would authorize referendum on whether to impose a surcharge on reckless driving offenders, boosting fund that helps injured people.
Legislators in the Georgia House of Representatives are set to vote on March 3 on a resolution that would authorize a referendum on whether to impose a surcharge on reckless driving offenders. If approved, that money would boost Georgia's Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund Commission.
The Commission was founded in 2003 to ensure that Georgians with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spinal cord injury (SCI) are not only valued, but also have equal opportunities when they transition back to their communities. The agency awards grants that help pay for necessary services and medical equipment not covered by Medicaid, Medicare or private insurance. Also, the Commission develops and oversees a state action plan to better align services and develop community support to meet patients’ needs. It also tracks and monitors cases of TBI and SCI to identify what resources are needed.
At present, the Commission is solely funded by a surcharge on individuals convicted of driving under the influence. But that funding has been decreasing because individuals accused of DUI are often pleading guilty to the lesser charge of reckless driving instead. So State Rep. Rusty Kidd, who is a former Shepherd Center patient, and several of his colleagues have introduced House Resolution 1183 in the House.
If the Georgia House passes the resolution on March 3, then it will go to the Senate for a vote of approval for the referendum that could go before Georgia voters.
If you want to let your Georgia state representative know that you support this resolution, you can contact them by phone or email. Find your state representative at Votesmart.org.
Here is a sample email message you can send to your representative:
I reside at ___________. I'm writing in support of HR1183, which I understand potentially increases funding for the Georgia Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Trust Fund Commission by allocating a portion of reckless driving fines to the fund. The trust fund is a vital resource for Georgia's survivors of brain and spinal cord injuries. It has typically been funded only by DUIs, which have been dramatically reduced in recent years by individuals pleading to lesser charges. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to support this legislation.
To read more about Shepherd Center's involvement with the Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund Commission, click here.
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 935 inpatients, 541 day program patients and more than 7,300 outpatients each year.