Senate passes bill funding ALS research, caregiving, sending it to Walz

The Minnesota Senate has approved a bill to fund Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) research and caregiving, sending it to the governor’s desk.

The Senate voted 67-0 on Monday to approve the bill after the Minnesota House of Representatives passed it with some slight changes on Thursday.

Once signed by Gov. Tim Walz, the legislation will provide $20 million in grants for ALS research and another $5 million for ALS caregiving.

One of the authors of the bill, Sen. David Tomassoni (DFL-Chisholm), was diagnosed last year with ALS, which is commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“Lou Gehrig died of ALS in 1941,” Tomassoni said in a statement. “Little to no progress in finding a cure has been made since. This bill is a concerted effort to find a cure for ALS. ALS is a neurological disease that saps strength from muscles and ultimately leaves chaos in its wake. In September, I was still driving and able to dress and feed myself. Today I can’t do any of that. The disease progresses differently in different people. Hopefully, this bill will go a long way to finding a permanent stop to any progression whatsoever. It may not happen in my lifetime but the future needs to be full of hope that the next generations will be ALS free.”

ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that weakens muscles and impacts the body’s ability to function. The ALS Association says the average survival time for those diagnosed is three years, although it varies for each person.

“Senator Tomassoni has been a source of hope and strength for so many of us,” bill co-author Sen. Tom Bakk (I-Cook), added. “Today we all join together in working with him to find a cure for this horrible disease. These research and caregiving dollars are truly groundbreaking.”