Stem Cell Political Soup
Stem Cell Political Soup
No real research news today so far, all the stories are about the breast stem cell which I reported on yesterday, scooping the North American press for once… So I thought today I would write about some of the miscellaneous legislative developments in the US.
As I mentioned during my winter vacation, the Umbilical Cord Bank (HR 2520)bill became law, passing in the Senate a day after Sen. Tom Harkin wanted to delay a vote. I am not sure what made Harkin change his mind, but at any rate he did. The bill authorized appropriations of “$34,000,000 for fiscal year 2006 and $38,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2007 through 2010.” The FDA must report on cord blood licensing requirements within 90 days. There are a lot of other specific details and sections, but basically the bill treads cord blood donation as an important component of public health and provides government funding to cord blood banks. A PDF version of the law is available from the Government Printing Office (GPO).
In Kansas, a recent poll of 800 Kansans found that “By a margin of more than two-to-one, Kansas voters said they support allowing both adult and early, or embryonic, stem cell research in the state and oppose a proposed law that would impose a state ban on the type of stem cell research called Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT).” The press release, from the organization that commissioned the poll, is on PR Newswire. The margin of error is 3.5 %. Also according to the release, “A complete copy of the Kansas stem cell survey results, Steeper's written analysis and more information about the Kansas Coalition for Lifesaving Cures is available online at http://www.KansasCures.com.” The organization supports embryonic stem cell research. The release was only issued a few hours ago, so there is no response yet from anti-embryonic stem cell research groups.
In New Jersey, a $350 million stem cell research initiative has died in the state legislature. Newsday ran an AP story on the subject 2 days ago; an article in Today’s Sunbeam says that the bill supporters hope to resurrect it. The money was to come from cigarette tax revenue bonds. The bill also included funding for New Jersey state parks. The bill’s language does not specifically exclude any form of stem cell research. A PDF of the bill as introduced is on the NJ legislature’s web site.
In Delaware, a bill that includes embryonic stem cell research is up for debate in the state legislature. According to the Delaware Online News Journal, the governor will sign it if it passes in a vote on January 12. The bill allows embryonic stem cell research on left-over embryos donated by couples who had been receiving fertility treatment. A synopsis of the bill with a link to the full text is on the state legislature web site.
The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that despite the hold-up on release of Prop 71 funds in California, universities and laboratories are going ahead with research and hiring. Meanwhile the San Francisco Business Times reported yesterday that Gayle Wilson, wife of former governor Pete Wilson, has resigned from her position on the Prop 71 Independent Citizens Oversight Committee. No reason was given.