Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Ortiz Media Advisory

Here is the media advisory from Sen. Ortiz.


SACRAMENTO – Senator Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacramento) on Wednesday will hold the first legislative oversight hearing on the implementation of Proposition 71, the Stem Cell Research and Cures Act. The joint hearing will be conducted by the Senate Health Committee and the Senate Subcommittee on Stem Cell Research Oversight, both chaired by Ortiz; and the Assembly Health Committee, chaired by Assemblywoman Wilma Chan (D-Oakland).
Legislators will be provided their first opportunity to hear first-hand how the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee, the 29-member panel charged with overseeing implementation of Proposition 71, are designing the nation’s premier stem-cell research program. They also will hear about steps planned to ensure patient protection and public accountability.
“Voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 71 because of the promise it holds for finding new medical breakthroughs for debilitating and life-threatening diseases that affect millions of Americans,” Ortiz said. “In approving this important research, voters also ponied up $3 billion to $6 billion of their hard-earned tax dollars. It is critical that Californians remain confident that their public dollars are well spent and the state receives a fair financial return on its generous investment – both in royalties and affordable access to therapies that are developed.”
Most of the hearing will be devoted to testimony from experts regarding several critical issues that were not addressed in the initiative, including: adopting conflict-of-interest and economic disclosure requirements to ensure members of the governing committee and working groups that award research grants are not tainted by financial holdings or affiliations with any university or disease advocacy group; determining how much of the work by the governing and working groups should be conducted in a public forum; ensuring the state receives a fair financial return on its investment through royalties and/or access to medical remedies and products developed; and adopting strict patient protection regulations and bans on financial gain for donating eggs.
Senator Ortiz is the author of SB 18, which addresses each of those areas. The bill is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Health Committee in April.

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