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RELEASE: Governor Walz signs landmark ALS research, caregiver support investments into law

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed into law legislation authored by Rep. Dave Lislegard (DFL – Aurora) containing historic investments into research for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) as well as support for caregivers. Rep. Lislegard developed the bill with his good friend Sen. David Tomassoni (I – Chisholm), the Senate’s chief author who is currently living with ALS. According to ALS advocates, it’s the largest single investment any state has ever made.

“Sen. Tomassoni looked adversity in the face, and took this moment to use his plight to help so many others,” Rep. Lislegard said. “He’s a true friend of mine. At the Capitol, he took me underneath his wing and showed me how the work we do here isn’t about Democrats or Republicans; it’s about people. If there’s one thing anyone can learn from Sen. Tomassoni, it’s love solves everything, and hate solves nothing.”

The legislation invests $20 million to the Office of Higher Education to – with the support of the Minnesota Department of Health – award grants to conduct clinical and translational research into the prevention, treatment, causes, and cures of ALS. Research facilities, universities, or health systems located in Minnesota are all eligible to apply. 

The bill also invests $5 million for caregiver support programs – administered by the Minnesota Board on Aging – for families of people with ALS including services, information, education, and training to respite caregivers and volunteers about caring for, managing, and coping with care.

The House overwhelmingly passed the bill on March 24, and the Senate passed it for a final time, unanimously, on March 28.