CNI Grant Recipients Participate in General Assembly Reception on February 4, 2004
On Wednesday, February 4, 2004, Delegate John O' Bannon and the *Virginia Alliance of Brain Injury Service Providers (VaBISP) held a Breakfast Reception at the General Assembly in honor of the men and women who sustained brain injuries during service to their country. It is estimated that five-hundred and sixty members of the U.S. Military have suffered a brain injury during conflict in Iraq. Several members of the Armed Forces who had sustained an injury in Iraq attended the reception and were recognized on the floor of the House by Delegate O'Bannon.
Reception organizers also highlighted the need for improved services to people with brain injuries in Virginia. Information about a $4.5 million budget bill amendment introduced by Delegates Hamilton and Callahan in the House and Senator Lambert in the Senate was a frequent topic of conversation. The $4.5 million budget bill would provide funds for specialized brain injury services such as case management, day programs, clubhouses, regional resource centers, work adjustment and transitional employment programs, transportation, supported living, and continued development of additional service providers for individuals with brain injury.
Karen Brown, Executive Director of Brain Injury Services, Inc. in Fairfax, Lance Elwood, President of Community Futures, Inc. in Richmond, and Greg Rooker, Board Member of Brain Injury Services of Southwest Virginia in Roanoke enjoyed hosting the Breakfast Reception at the General Assembly Building on February 4.
The Breakfast Reception was a huge success, drawing Former Lt. Governor Tim Kaine; many legislators and their aides; survivors of brain injury and family members; and countless advocates from across Virginia showing their support for increased funding of brain injury services. Dr. Paul Aravich, Associate Professor of Pathology & Anatomy and Medicine, Eastern Virginia Medical School, provided a hands-on anatomy lesson using a preserved brain and spinal cord.
Of major interest to the Commonwealth Neurotrauma Initiative, Senator Linda "Toddy" Puller patroned a bill this year to amend and reenact § 46.2-411 of the Code of Virginia. If passed, the bill would have increased the fee for reinstatement of a suspended or revoked driver's license from $30 to $60, thereby increasing the dollars transferred into the Commonwealth Neurotrauma Initiative Trust Fund established pursuant to Chapter 3.1 (§51.5-12.1 et seq.) http://legis.state.va.us/Laws/CodeofVa.htm of Title 51.5 from $25 to $55. On February 12, 2004, the Senate failed to report (defeated) this bill (SB380) in finance.
* The Virginia Alliance of Brain Injury Providers (VaBISP) includes Brain Injury Association of Virginia; Brain Injury Services, Inc. (Northern Virginia and Fredericksburg); Brain Injury Services of SWVA (Roanoke and New River Valley); Commonwealth Support Systems (Virginia Beach and Eastern Shore); Community Futures Foundation/The Mill House Richmond); Virginia Neurocare (Charlottesville); and other providers of brain injury services in Virginia.