New York State Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan today announced the appointment of Senator Elaine Phillips to the Senate Task Force on Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases (TBDs). The Task Force is charged with improving prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of these diseases to better protect the health of New Yorkers and their families.
Senate Majority Leader Flanagan said, “I’m pleased to appoint Senator Phillips to this crucial Senate Task Force. Senator Phillips’ efforts will help raise awareness of an important public health issue that is particularly prevalent on Long Island and assist in crafting meaningful legislation to address its impacts. The Task Force will continue to work on protecting New Yorkers by enhancing research, prevention, diagnosis and treatment for harmful tick-borne illnesses.”
Senator Elaine Phillips said, “Lyme and other tick-borne disease rates continue to increase across New York State, including right here on Long Island. Education is key and as elected officials, it is our responsibility to promote public awareness about this debilitating illness in our local communities. As a member of the Task Force, I look forward to working with my colleagues as we improve detection and treatment efforts of tick-borne diseases and provide residents with the knowledge they need to reduce exposure.”
While the Northeast United States continues to be one of the hardest-hit regions for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, the Senate has been actively working to reverse this trend. This year alone, the Task Force successfully secured a record $400,000 in the state budget for research, education, and prevention efforts.
The Task Force has been working since 2013 to engage stakeholders and develop legislation to address Lyme disease. It will build upon past legislative successes, including two new laws passed last year that require the Department of Health to design a Lyme and TBD awareness program, and require the state to create age-appropriate educational materials that would be readily available to schools. Another new law passed this year will help keep kids safer through the use of insect repellent at summer camps.
At the end of August, the Task Force held a public hearing—along with the Senate Health Committee—in Albany that highlighted the need for an assertive and comprehensive statewide plan to effectively combat the spread of Lyme and TBDs. Testimony from the State Department of Health, researchers, medical professionals, insurance representatives, patients and advocates presented a thorough view of the complicated and controversial issues surrounding Lyme and TBDs.
To read the report based on findings from the public hearing and for more information about the Task Force’s ongoing efforts to combat Lyme and TBDs, please visit: https://www.nysenate.gov/committees/task-force-lyme-and-tick-borne-diseases