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'There Oughta be a Law' Contest Gets Deadline Extension

You have until Nov. 15 to send in your ideas to State Sen. Joe Simitian's office.

Like any dutiful woman concerned about her health, Amy Colton had her mammogram done each year. A registered nurse and daughter of a doctor, Colton figured she could only be doing herself a favor—so when her doctor discovered an advanced cancerous mass after years of a clean bill, she was understandably shocked.

It turns out she had dense breast tissue, which can obscure the image and hide a developing tumor. Thing is, she had no idea she had this kind of tissue until after she had been treated for cancer, which involved a mastectomy. Forty percent of women have dense breast tissue, but like Colton, most don't know it.

That was when the Santa Cruz resident decided there should be a way for patients to know if they have dense breast tissue, and the simplest solution would be to tell them when they receive their mammogram results.

She sent in the idea to via his "There Oughta be a Law" contest, which lets constituents submit ideas for new laws. Simitian decided to sponsor Colton's proposed law, and it passed with widespread bipartisan support through the legislatures before landing on Governor Jerry Brown's desk.

Colton's story was the one Simitian iterated at a Los Altos town hall on Oct. 18, where he discussed everything from high-speed rail to Proposition 13.

announced recently that the senator has decided to extend the contest deadline this year to Nov. 15 from Oct. 31, giving Californians more time to submit their ideas. Although he did not explicitly mention the contest at the town hall, he alluded to it via Colton's story.

"Winners stand a good chance of seeing their ideas affect the lives of 38 million Californians,” Simitian said in a statement.

The senator said he was disappointed when Brown ultimately vetoed the bill (it was an issue with the "language" of the bill), but added that he plans on supporting it again next year.

"Change will come, but at an expense," he said, referring to the millions of lives he believes could have been saved had the bill passed.

Simitian serves the 11th District, which includes 13 cities: Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Cupertino, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Campbell to Santa Cruz and Capitola. There are 931,349 people in the district.

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