Friday, May 27, 2005

Klein: Haste Poses Peril to Agency

California stem cell chairman Robert Klein remains unhappy with the proposed ballot measure on his agency, arguing that it is moving with unwarranted haste through the legislature.

In a statement on CIRM's web site, he declared, "There does not appear to be any compelling reason that this constitutional amendment should be rushed through the legislature, without full and adequate notice so that the public, patient groups, medical groups, and the Institute can participate fully. Jamming it through the Legislature by June 30 for a special election in November unnecessarily creates huge risks that unworkable language and provisions will make it impossible to carry out the mission of the Institute."

He also said, "Major portions of the language in SCA13 dealing with intellectual property would predictably create major legal problems and obstacles for the Institute in the development of therapies. It is vital that this constitutional amendment does not create major opportunities for litigation by the opposition to Prop. 71 that would paralyze the Institute."

Klein complained that the agency has not been fully heard because of legislative haste. "The scheduling of the hearings to date has not permitted the Institute to participate with the Senate in the development of solutions that would meet the common goals of the Institute and the Senate," he said.

The undue haste argument seems to echo that of cities in California seeking the headquarters location for CIRM. They too said a fast-track process impaired their abilities to do the best for the people of California, an argument rejected by Klein and the agency.

As for being unable to be heard by the legislature, Ortiz' concerns were well known last year, shortly after last fall's election. She introduced SCA13 more than two months ago, the same week Klein refused to appear before a special joint Assembly-Senate committee hearing on the agency (see "Stiffing Lawmakers" March 10 and "Roiling Undercurrents" March 16 on this blog).

SCA13 is expected to go through three legislative hearings in Assembly, assuming the likelihood of Senate passage. That will allow ample time for more input from CIRM and other parties.

Here are links to stories this morning on the proposal: Carl Hall, San Francisco Chronicle; Terri Somers, San Diego Union Tribune; Sandy Kleffman, Contra Costa Times. The Los Angeles Times and The Sacramento Bee did not appear to have stories this morning. Sphere: Related Content

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