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State tries to tackle rising Alzheimer’s patient rolls

POSTED: March 17, 2014 7:24 p.m.

Week nine of the session brought many pieces of Senate legislation to House committees for our review. In that week, we focused on reviewing, debating, and voting upon quite a few Senate bills that were passed out of committee and onto Rules and ultimately the House floor for a vote.

Two measures that passed this week help address the ever-growing number of Georgians affected by Alzheimer’s disease. More than 120,000 Georgians live with Alzheimer’s disease, with that number expected to rise by 40,000 individuals by 2025. Senate Resolution 746 addresses this growing illness by supporting the State Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias.

Developed by a multidisciplinary group of state leaders, the plan aims to improve dementia prevention and treatment. It also looks at community services, family support, and public awareness for the disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a horrific disease that has touched many families in our state. My sincere wish is that SR 746 will improve the lives of individuals and families impacted by this affliction.

We also passed SB 292 which serves to establish the Alzheimer’s Disease Registry. This central database of all individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease will be a confidential database and is expected to provide researchers, doctors, and caregivers with a better understanding of the disease, its risk factors and its victims. The database will also provide us with a more accurate estimate of the number of individuals living with Alzheimer’s and the areas of the state with the most patients.

This information will allow the state and medical providers to formulate a plan to best serve these individuals and families. Gaining a better understanding of the disease is the first step towards finding treatment, prevention and ultimately a cure.

After many months of work on the passage of SB 213 (the Flint River Drought Protection Act), compromise language was agreed upon by all interested parties addressing their concerns.Under the version of SB 213 that was passed by the House, the EPD director  would be able to restrict farmers from drawing water from the Flint River basin during times of droughts.

The intent of this bill is to protect the aquatic wildlife that inhabits the river. This measure applies to only four streams in southwest Georgia and will only be used during a drought. Ultimately, SB 213 will ensure that efforts to protect wildlife are not diminished by water usage.

Our last legislative day of the 2014 session, scheduled for Thursday, is quickly approaching. Also known as Sine Die, this 40th legislative day will be our last opportunity to pass state legislation this year.

As we move through this last legislative week, I encourage you to contact me with any concerns you might have regarding our state and its agencies. You can reach me at my state capitol office at (404) 656-5099 or through email at Jon.Burns@house.ga.gov. Thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative.

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