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House approves bill to help fund childhood cancer research

A bill amended to help fund research into childhood diseases is headed for the 9th Floor after the House approved the measure in a 39-12 vote June 26.

The bill, S1017, expands the list of special license plates to include a “childhood cancer research plate.”

The bill originally proposed creating Multiple-Sclerosis Awareness, Arizona Masonic Fraternity and Hunger Relief plates. Sen. Pamela Gorman, a Republican from Anthem, attached the plate recognizing childhood diseases after it became clear that a bill establishing the plate specifically would not be heard in committee in time to be signed into law this session.

A $25 annual license fee would be charged for individuals wishing to purchase the specialty plates, of which $17 would be donated to the newly created Childhood Cancer and Rare Childhood Disease Research Fund.

The bill stipulates the Arizona Department of Transportation be paid $32,000 for production costs by the end of the year. Ella’s Tea Party, Inc., a nonprofit organization to help find a cure for childhood cancers, hopes to be able to collect the start-up funds in order to relieve the burden from the state. The group had collected $1,000 as of June 29.

Lyndon Vidrine, a founding member of Ella’s Tea Party and father to the organization’s namesake, Ella Rose Vidrine, told the Arizona Capitol Times in February that he did not anticipate any difficulties passing the bill.

“I would hope they would find it very difficult to say no to a kid with cancer,” Vidrine said. “Childhood cancer is such a low incidence that it usually doesn’t get the same level of attention as adult cancers, but it is the number one non-violent death for children.”

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