Rep. Kevin Tanner was recently named legislator of the year by the Brain Injury Association of Georgia for his work on a resolution that could transfer additional funding to help those with traumatic brain injuries.
Board chairman David Dodson presented the award Saturday in Roswell.
"This is the only piece of Constitutional legislation in the state of Georgia in about 20 years, so there has been very, very little done in the state of Georgia for a long period of time for individuals with traumatic brain injury," he said.
Tanner was the primary author and sponsor of House Bill 870 and House Resolution 1183 during the past legislative session. The bill, which imposes additional fees for reckless driving violations when they are pleaded down from driving under the influence, passed overwhelmingly in both houses.
The resolution proposes an amendment to the Constitution that allows the General Assembly to impose additional penalties or fees for the offense of reckless driving with fees to be distributed to the Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund.
Voters going to the state ballots in November will be asked to approve the measure.
"Having this as a Constitutional amendment would protect the funds from being used for any other purpose," Tanner said. "The money could be used for families of those injured to purchase wheelchairs, make their homes handicap accessible and for things such as special software equipment for computers.
"It really is designed to give them extra help they need to survive with a traumatic brain injury."
According to Dodson, the number of people affected by HIV, prostate cancer and breast cancer combined is less than the number impacted each year by traumatic brain injury.
"To be fair, all of which are significant and severe and require the same degree of empathy across the board, but you can conduct your own test and see that in a group of people, you'll find the majority know someone with a traumatic brain injury," he said.
Tanner said he was honored to sponsor the legislation.
"Recently Kale Scott from here in Dawsonville was injured in an accident and is currently recovering from a traumatic brain injury at the Shepherd Center," Tanner said. "So this is something that closely touches the Dawson County community."