Progress on TBI in Washington State

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This is a photograph of Governor Gregoire and a group of TBI advocates at the signing ceremony.

TBI advocates join Governor Gregoire and Rep. Dickerson at the signing ceremony for SHB 1614

Gov. Chris Gregoire signed into law April 20 a bill updating Washington State’s Traumatic Brain Injury Strategic Partnership Act of 2007.

The 2007 bill, the state’s first measure directly addressing TBI, created the Washington Traumatic Brain Injury Strategic Partnership Advisory Council to provide resources and support for the tens of thousands of Washington State residents affected by TBI. The legislature temporarily expanded the council’s authority in a budget amendment in 2010 so the council could progress with other tasks, such as working with the Department of Veterans Affairs to create TBI peer support groups for soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.

The latest bill updates the statute and gives the council the latitude to fund anything that is included in the TBI comprehensive plan. It makes permanent the ability to continue the council’s recent partnerships with law enforcement and emergency medical personnel.

“We are thankful to Rep. (Mary Lou) Dickerson for her leadership in bringing the TBI statute up to date,” said council chairman Mark Stroh, executive director of DisAbility Rights Washington. “The passage of this statute is critical to our ability to pursue the TBI comprehensive plan.”

The bill unanimously passed the Senate April 7 and the House of Representatives Feb. 28.