ASSEMBLY HEALTH COMMITTEE



STATEMENT TO



ASSEMBLY, No. 2419



with committee amendments



STATE OF NEW JERSEY



DATED: DECEMBER 3, 1998



The Assembly Health Committee reports favorably and with committee amendments Assembly Bill No. 2419.

As amended by the committee, this bill establishes a New Jersey State Commission on Spinal Cord Research. The commission would be allocated within the Department of Health and Senior Services, but would be independent of any supervision or control by the department or by any board or officer thereof.

The commission's responsibility would be to design and administer a grant program to fund approved medical and scientific research projects that focus on the treatment of spinal cord injuries and diseases that damage the spinal cord.

The moneys for these grants would be generated by a $1 surcharge on all motor vehicle fines. These moneys would be deposited in a special nonlapsing fund in the Department of the Treasury to be known as the "New Jersey Spinal Cord Research Fund."

The commission would consist of 11 members, including the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services and 10 appointed members who are persons known for their knowledge, competence, experience or interest in medical research relating to the treatment of spinal cord injuries and diseases. These public members are to be appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, and serve for terms of three years. The initial appointment terms are staggered to ensure continuity. The members are not entitled to compensation for their services, but are to be reimbursed for the actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.

The committee amendments:

independent scientific advisory panel composed of scientists and clinicians who are not members of the commission to review proposals submitted to the commission and make funding recommendations to the commission; and