Monday, March 08, 2010

Text of CIRM Comments on Alquist Legislation

We asked Don Gibbons, chief communications officer for CIRM, last week about action by the CIRM directors' Legislative Subcommittee on legislation concerning the agency. Here is the full text of his response.

“The Legislative Subcommittee expressed concerns about SB1064, introduced by Sen. Elaine Kontominas Alquist of San Jose. The bill would alter the management structure of CIRM in ways the subcommittee suggested the Senator and her staff did not fully understand. Acknowledging that CIRM is not perfect the committee did not recommend embracing or rejecting the bill, but rather to seek a vote in the legislature to move the bill to 'interim study' to give CIRM staff time to educate members of the legislature and their staffs about the related issues.

“Moving the bill to interim study not only involves allowing CIRM to educate the legislature on our progress but also allows the committee chair to call a hearing after the legislature adjourns to provide substantive oversight to review the progress that CIRM has made on all the issues raised by the Little Hoover Commission and the Controller’s Financial Accountability Committee and verify the transparency we all support. In short, we are welcoming legislative oversight and looking forward to the outside scientific review that President Trounson has been putting together for later this year.

“The subcommittee also voted to seek further study of the impact of  AB52, introduced by Assemblyman Anthony Portantino of Pasadena. That bill would move from the Department of Public Health to CIRM the previously legislated authority to receive fee surcharges from birth certificates to fund the  collection and oversight of public banking of umbilical cord blood in California. This study would be internal with the CIRM Science Office directed to look at issues around the science, logistics, and liabilities of such a service with the help of appropriate outside experts.”

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