2011 Congressional Bills

Congressional Bills Introduced

July 20, 2011. Florida Lyme is pleased to announce the introduction of two bills that focus attention on the growing concerns surrounding Lyme and tick borne diseases in Florida and other states.

On Friday, July 15, 2011 Congressman Christopher Smith (R-NJ) introduced HR-2557, the Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Prevention, Education, and Research Act of 2011, along with cosponsors Tim Holden (PA), Chris Gibson (NY) and Frank Wolf (VA).

HR-2557 requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a Tick-Borne Diseases Advisory Committee and advise Federal agencies on priorities related to Lyme and tick-borne disease issues. The Committee will be composed of scientists, representatives from government agencies, health care providers and patients to represent a diversity of view points. The Committee is charged with assuring information disseminated to the public and physicians is balanced.

As Chairman of the Congressional Lyme Disease Caucus for the past seven years, Congressman Smith and his staff have worked to foster greater knowledge about tick-borne diseases over the years.

Newly elected Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced a bill in the Senate (S-1381) to help combat the spread of Lyme disease. Original cosponsors on Blumenthal's Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Prevention, Education, and Research Act of 2011, were Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Jack Reed (RI), Al Franken (MN), Joseph Lieberman (CT), and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY).

After serving five terms as the Attorney General in Connecticut, Blumenthal is familiar with Lyme disease issues and has been a champion for chronically ill Lyme patients. His office launched a lengthy investigation into the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and American Academy of Neurology (AAN) treatment guidelines after he discovered a large number of people in his State and across the country were still suffering after following the IDSA recommended Lyme disease treatment protocols. On May 1, 2008 he released his findings, concluding:

"The IDSA's 2006 Lyme disease guideline panel undercut its credibility by allowing individuals with financial interests -- in drug companies, Lyme disease diagnostic tests, patents and consulting arrangements with insurance companies -- to exclude divergent medical evidence and opinion."

Florida Lyme appreciates the bill sponsors, cosponsors and their staff for their dedication to those currently suffering and those who may contract a tick borne disease in the future.

For more information on Lyme and tick borne diseases please visit the Florida Lyme website at www.FloridaLyme.org

Contact person: Lucy Barnes, Florida Lyme. Email AfterTheBite@gmail.com