$4.9 million mesothelioma research bill advances

18 Apr 2008 by under Events, News, Research/Treatment

A compromise has been reached in the Minnesota legislature over funding for a mesothelioma research study. MyMeso has been following the progress of a bill in the Minnesota House that would provide $4.9 million to fund a study of mesothelioma and disease in the state’s miners. More than 58 taconite miners have died from mesothelioma or other asbestos disease.

There was some controversy over the source of the funding when the bill was introduced in the House. Gov. Tim Pawlenty objected to the proposed funding source, a special state worker’s compensation fund, fearing it would raise premium costs for businesses that use the fund. The governor had threatened to veto the bill unless an alternate funding source was established.

An amendment proposed by the Minnesota Senate yesterday afternoon would fund the bill from a Department of Commerce fund, which is an “assigned risk” worker’s compensation fund.

The money will fund a five-year research project headed up by the University of Minnesota, which will review the health of miners and spouses, study the health records and occupations of miners who died and analyze the air quality in and around the mining communities.

The Senate has indicated support of the revised bill, with a final vote expected early next week. It will then move back to the House, where it also is expected to be met favorably.

According to TwinCities.com, a Pawlenty spokesman said the governor supports the amended bill and “believes it’s very important that this study moves forward.”

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