Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Klein Caught in Stem Cell Blow-back

California stem cell chairman Robert Klein was hoist on his own political petard during an ironic moment involving legislation to tighten oversight of the California stem cell agency.
The subject was SB401, which would be placed on the ballot for approval by voters.

Klein, an attorney and one of the main authors of Prop. 71, objected strongly to the proposal during the last meeting of the Oversight Committee. Among other things, he told the CIRM overseers:
"This is legislation that creates an initiative. So if this is passed, you can't even, if there's an error in it, you couldn't even change it with (normal) legislation. You have to go back to the voters with an initiative. So it's not just what's being attempted, but the form of what's being attempted. Is an initiative to the voters necessary? That's a question. And is an initiative to the voters premature?"
Klein is exactly right – at least about the nature of SB401. He used the same technique (Prop. 71) to create the stem cell agency and froze out nearly all normal government oversight of CIRM. Klein sees the absence of what he perceives as political interference as an asset for the agency. That is why the folks that see defects in Prop. 71 – and there are many – have to resort to ballot measures to get the attention of CIRM. It happened last year at this time with SCA13, and it is happening again with SB401.

Just call it stem cell blow-back.

(For more on the views of the Oversight Committee concerning SB401, see the transcript of the April 27 meeting. The subject comes up again this Friday at the next meeting of the group.) Sphere: Related Content

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