Monday, October 17, 2005

Who Gets the Money?

Probably the biggest question of the year for the California stem cell agency is: Where's the money?

The second biggest is: Who gets the money?

That is what is at the heart of the intellectual property issue and CIRM. Two major hearings are scheduled for this month on the topic. One is being held by the stem cell agency on Oct. 25 in Sacramento. The other will be conducted by the Health committees of the State Senate and Assembly in San Francisco on Oct. 31.

During the election campaign one year ago, California voters were told to expect billions of dollars in benefits from passage of Proposition 71. A few months ago, a report from the California Council on Science and Technology said, "Get real." Don't expect huge bags of swag anytime soon, the council reported.

But State Sen. Deborah Ortiz, chair of Senate Health Committee, has authored a proposed constitutional amendment that would provide for greater benefits to the state than now proposed by stem cell agency leaders. The measure, SCA13, has already passed the Senate and is before the Assembly. It could be placed on the ballot in June of next year.

Look for folks from the Center on Policy and Genetics, Greenlining and the Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights to testify at one or both of the hearings. All three have indicated that they differ sharply with CIRM on IP issues.

Later this week we will have more to say on SCA13 and CIRM's position on intellectual property.

At this point, neither of the two hearings has remote access, either on the Web or otherwise. You can find the physical locations of both sessions in the California Stem Cell Calendar below.

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