Two DFL lawmakers are proposing to create a state grant program that would dedicate $4 million each year to spinal cord and traumatic brain injury research.
Senate author Jeff Hayden of Minneapolis said his legislation would funnel the state funds to a public research entity.
Hayden said the state should be a partner in finding a cure for spinal and brain injuries because the state often pays for the long-term care associated with the conditions.
"We know that the cost of taking care of folks who have these accidents are extremely high and so if we can find a cure, if we can really kind of close that gap, we also think there are some cost savings to the state," Hayden said. "I haven't done that analysis yet. But I think the state should be a partner in it, because the state's a partner in its care."
The legislation is called the Jablonski/Rodreick Spinal Cord and Traumatic Brain Injury Grant Program. It's named after two Minnesota teens who suffered severe spinal cord injuries.
The effort was suggested by constituent Matthew Rodreick of Minneapolis. His son, Gabe, was paralyzed in a surfing accident four years ago at age 15.
"I don't think we're asking the rest of Minnesota to sort of give us a gift, and a gift that maybe just extends hope or because I'm a parent who's trying to escape the grief of the reality of having a child who has paralysis," Matthew Rodreick said. "I really believe that there are really significant breakthroughs in the science."
Hayden introduced similar legislation last year, but the bill didn't get a hearing.