Tuesday, June 07, 2005

SCA13: Ortiz' Summary

The following is from Sen. Ortiz' office and is not available on her website:

SCA 13 (Ortiz and Runner)
Prop. 71 Open Meetings, Conflict of Interest,
and Patenting and Licensing
Fact Sheet
SCA 13 would strengthen the public accountability provisions of Proposition 71, the Stem Cell Research and Cures initiative, by ensuring that principles of open government, protections against conflicts of interest, and the taxpayers’ interest are fully incorporated in decision-making under the initiative.
In passing Proposition 71, voters have entrusted the state with managing $3 billion in new funds for stem cell research. The cost of repaying bonds with interest will range up to $6 billion.
While Proposition 71 contains provisions concerning open meetings, conflicts of interest, and handling of royalties and intellectual property rights, as drafted and as they are being implemented by the ICOC, they do not go far enough to fully protect the state's interest. For example:
The initiative and the implementation of it explicitly exempts some Proposition 71 working groups from open meeting requirements, even when they consider broad policies and standards. These are expert groups whose recommendations will carry enormous weight, and are unlikely to be overturned by the governing committee.
The initiative and the ICOC’s implementation of it fail to require disclosure of economic interests by working group members, and instead relies on self-certification of conflicts of interest.
Regarding patents and licenses associated with research funded by Prop. 71, the initiative simply requires the ICOC to balance the interests of taxpayers with those of ensuring that important research moves forward, instead of ensuring therapies and treatments resulting from Prop. 71-funded research are accessible and affordable.
What SCA 13 Does
SCA addresses these problems by:
Applying open meeting standards to all deliberations of the ICOC and its working groups, with exceptions as necessary to conduct scientific peer review and to protect proprietary or scientific prepublication information;
Allowing an opportunity for public comment on the basis for approval or denial of applications for funding before recommendations for funding are submitted to the ICOC;
Requiring working group members to disclose to the ICOC relevant economic and property interests and to adhere to NIH economic conflict of interest standards, and requiring the State Auditor to periodically review the ICOC’s monitoring and enforcement of conflict of interest provisions for working group members;
Requiring the ICOC to seek to ensure, in negotiating intellectual property agreements, that therapies and treatments resulting from inventions and technologies developed with Prop. 71 funding are accessible and affordable to low-income residents, including those eligible for state and county-funded health care programs.
Proposition 71 gives California an opportunity to realize the enormous potential represented by stem cell research. SCA 13 simply ensures that Prop. 71 funding decisions are reached and carried out in a publicly accountable manner.
Organizations in Support
Californians Aware
CALPIRG
Common Cause
California Tax Reform Association Sphere: Related Content

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