Wednesday, June 06, 2007

CIRM Legislation Easily Clears the California Senate

The California State Senate today overwhelmingly passed legislation aimed at ensuring a return to the state on its $6 billion stem cell research investment as well as providing affordable access to therapies that may be developed.

The bill, SB771, cleared the Senate on a 38-0 vote. It now goes to the Assembly, where it also requires a three-fifth vote for approval, not to mention passage through at least two committees.

The measure is authored by Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, chair of the Senate Health Committee, and Sen. George Runner of Antelope Valley, chair of the Senate Republican Caucus.

The size of the vote in favor of the bill seems to indicate that the opposition to the bill by the California stem cell institute and the state's biotech industry has not been effective so far. But the vote also could reflect the strength of its authors in the Senate, where their colleagues might be reluctant to offend. The Assembly could be a different matter.

We have not yet seen any news stories on the Senate vote. Those may not be available until Thursday.

(Regarding the $6 billion figure in the first paragraph, that represents the total investment by the state: $3 billion for research and $3 billion in interests for state bonds.)

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