The Newark Star Ledger ran an article a couple of days ago about the state of the proposed stem cell bill in New Jersey. Governor Jon Corzine says that the legislature is stalling on both the stem cell bill and a needle exchange bill, which are now tied together; Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts has reportedly refused to allow discussion on the stem cell bill until the needle exchange bill is considered in the state Senate.
Interesting combination of things here. Opponents of a needle exchange program think it won’t prevent drug abuse and that it’s not a sensible health care position. Opponents of stem cell research—who are some of the same people—are calling embryonic stem cell research immoral. What if they put their efforts into drug education? Into helping living people who are at risk for AIDS and other diseases?
I tried to write more but started rambling without making any decent point, so I’ll stop here on New Jersey and go quickly to Illinois.
As I reported a while ago, the governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, issued an executive order providing $10 million in embryonic stem cell research funding from a budget line called “scientific research.” Last Friday, a judge ruled that it’s a political issue and not a judicial issue and he will not block the funding. He did, however, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, tell the attorney who filed suit seeking an injunction that he could amend his complaint to argue there needed to be public input about the $10 million spending.
And in Connecticut, the state committee that was to begin awarding pieces of the research pie there has postponed a meeting planned for yesterday because the State Ethics Board said that members of the committee should not be from institutions seeking funds. According to the Hartford Courant, the chair of the advisor committee is meeting with the legislature to try to resolve things. One of the issues is that there is a legislative mandate that members of the advisory committee be stem cell experts—which means they are probably employed by institutions seeking grants. Double bind….I wonder how this one will be worked out. It could be important for the arguments in California.