News Release from the office of Senator Carlos Uresti

May 14, 2009
Mark Langford at 512.463.0119

Texas Senate passes Greyson's Law to expand newborn screenings

The Texas Senate on Thursday unanimously adopted a bill by Sen. Carlos Uresti that will expand the state's genetic disease screening program for newborns.

Senate Bill 1720 was dubbed Greyson's Law for Greyson Morris, who died just short of his first birthday of Krabbe disease, a degenerative disorder of the central and peripheral nervous systems. Early detection of the disorder could have prevented Greyson's death.

The American College of Medical Genetics recommends that newborns be tested for 54 treatable disorders. Currently, the Department of State Health Services is required to screen for only 29 disorders in the ACMG screening profile. Greyson's Law will raise the number to 49, with only a minimal cost to the state.

"Early detection can mean the difference between life and death for a newborn child," Uresti said. "For about the same cost of treating one undiagnosed child, we can expand the screening program for newborns across the entire state."

The bill will also create a Newborn Screening Advisory Committee to develop recommendations and research concerning mandatory expanded newborn screenings.

Uresti commended Greyson's parents, Bill and Nicole Morris, for their unwavering support for the bill, saying, "They made sure that everyone involved in the legislative process knew the importance of this bill and its potential to save children's lives."

Carlos Uresti is the senator from State Senate District 19 representing over 750,000 residents throughout a 23 county area stretching along the U.S.-Mexico border, from San Antonio to El Paso County, including all or part of the following: Bandera, Bexar, Brewster, Culberson, Crockett, El Paso, Edwards, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Kinney, Loving, Maverick, Medina, Pecos, Presidio, Real, Reeves, Sutton, Terrell, Uvalde, Val Verde, Ward, and Winkler counties. Covering 55,000 square miles, the district contains 62 school districts and spans two time zones.