Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Robert Klein: The Missing Man

Was the most influential California legislator on stem cell issues unhappy with the Robert Klein's failure to appear at last week's hearing into the agency?

In response to an inquiry from the California Stem Cell Report, the office of Sen. Deborah Ortiz, D-Sacramento, said she encouraged Klein, who is chairman of the state stem cell agency, to appear. She assured him that his concerns about legal questions and litigation involving the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine could be overcome.

Ortiz, chair of the Senate Health Committee, “encouraged Mr. Klein to view the hearing as an opportunity to inform legislators and the public about the great strides the ICOC is making in this very difficult project: building the world's premier stem cell research institute from the ground up,” her office said.

“She assured Mr. Klein that she would instruct all witnesses and legislators to avoid discussing any issues that were pending before the court. She also encouraged Mr. Klein to attend the hearing with his attorney, who could advise him if there were any points that the attorney believed could jeopardize the litigation pending before the Supreme Court.

“Sen. Ortiz very strongly supports and campaigned for Proposition 71. She hopes the Attorney General is successful in his attempts to have the California Supreme Court take jurisdiction over the constitutional challenges that have been filed and resolve them quickly so that the implementation of this important research can begin and the cures we all hope will come from this significant public investment will be developed.”


The California Stem Cell Report's bottom line: State agencies are sued regularly. Their department heads, however, manage to come before legislative committees when requested. Is Klein different? The worst part about this is that his actions do not benefit the stem cell agency. As we pointed out previously, there is small profit in stiffing the legislature.

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We welcome and will publish comments on the stem cell agency or the failings of this blog. Please send them to djensen@californiastemcellreport.blogspot.com.

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