Tuesday, June 07, 2005

SCA13: Ortiz Statement

The following is from Sen. Ortiz' office and was not available on her web site this morning.

SACRAMENTO – Senator Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacramento) today issued the following statement after addressing the Independent Citizen’s Oversight Committee regarding Senate Constitutional Amendment 13:
“I introduced Senate Constitutional Amendment 13 with one purpose: to strengthen Proposition 71 regarding conflicts of interest and financial disclosures, ensuring public accountability and open participation in the $3 billion, taxpayer-funded California stem cell research program.
“I have had numerous conversations and meetings with stem cell research advocates, officials with the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, members of the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee, medical and scientific experts, and both tax and bond counsel.
“We have made progress in crafting a measure that will provide full accountability and ensure the public’s confidence in the integrity of the system. I have been working with legislative and bond counsel to ensure that SCA 13 will do nothing to jeopardize the ability of stem cell research to proceed or hamper the state’s authority to issue tax-exempt bonds. Under SCA 13, California will continue to attract the best and brightest scientists and researchers, protecting their legitimate privacy concerns while making sure that research grants they recommend for funding are the best proposed projects.
“The only remaining issue is how we secure a strong commitment from the ICOC to deliver the therapies and drugs developed through stem cell research to Californians who face catastrophic illnesses and huge medical and prescription drug expenses. Despite its promise, Proposition 71 as currently written does not provide a way to ensure the results of stem cell research are made affordable and accessible to California’s health programs and needy residents.
“I urge members of the ICOC to continue working with me to ensure Proposition 71 delivers on its promise while protecting the taxpayers’ investment. California is the venture capitalist in this bold endeavor. The state’s residents are funding the research; they should have access to the cures that are developed as a result of their generosity and their hopes.”
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