ALBANY — State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-Big Flats) joined his Senate colleagues this week to urge Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders to include funding for research, education, and prevention initiatives in the 2019-2020 state budget to continue combating Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases (TBDs).

“Important actions over the past several years have broadened the state’s overall response to the spread of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Nevertheless, much more needs to be done, particularly in the areas of reporting, testing and treatment, and education and awareness,” said O’Mara, who has served as a member of the Senate Task Force on Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases.

The state Senate has led the way in recent years in securing nearly $3 million in state funding to advance research, education, and prevention initiatives statewide.

O’Mara and his colleagues noted, however, that the governor’s 2019-20 proposed state budget fails to include funding to build on past efforts and further combat the spread of Lyme and TBDs.

In response, the Senate Republican conference this week launched “Let’s Talk Ticks!” as an advocacy and educational campaign to continue raising awareness about the importance of ongoing state investment and support. At a round table discussion, lawmakers and other policy makers heard testimony from researchers, patients, and other experts committed to tackling the TBD epidemic.