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Minnesota Legislature

New Law: ‘Leo’s Law’ to raise awareness

Published (7/15/2011)
By Nick Busse
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Sponsored by Rep. Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake) and Sen. Doug Magnus (R-Slayton), a new law establishes the third week of every September as Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Week. During this time, Minnesotans will be urged to become better informed about mitochondrial diseases, which affect mitochondria — the “power plants” in every cell of the body.

The provisions may be cited in statute as “Leo’s Law,” so named after Leo James Chapman-Nesseth, a 1-year-old who died from a mitochondrial disorder in 2010. Hamilton said he was contacted by the boy’s parents, who suggested legislation to raise awareness of the condition.

According to the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation’s website, Mitochondrial disorders occur when the power plants in a body’s cells fail to convert oxygen and food into energy. They can cause a wide range of serious health problems, from strokes and seizures to organ failure and immune system problems. Mitochondrial diseases can be inherited, or they can develop due to environmental factors.

The law takes effect Aug. 1, 2011.

HF287/ SF361*/CH104

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