Tuesday, June 26, 2007

CIRM Legislation: A Political Muscle Story or Casualty of a Full Plate or Both?

The legislative effort to step into the affairs of the California stem cell agency attracted virtually no public notice during its short life this year.

Only a handful of stories – or less – recognized the existence of SB771 (see item below).

But John M. Simpson, stem cell project director for the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, has been active in the area involving the legislation and is a regular presence at CIRM meetings. He was acutely aware of the measure.

Today he issued a news release that said the legislature "missed an opportunity to ensure affordable access to any stem cell discoveries financed by California taxpayers."

Simpson continued:
"Sadly, both the proposed bill and regulations being developed by the stem cell institute fail to protect consumers from the possibility of unreasonable pricing of discoveries resulting from research they paid for. The bill was really about political muscle and how much influence the legislature should have over the stem cell institute, not the people's interests."
Another analysis could also note that the bill's author, Sen. Sheila Kuehl, has a very full legislative plate and that winning passage of the measure would be akin to winning the California lottery. In a word, remote.

Whatever the case, Simpson's statement and the shelving of the legislation are likely to attract little – or less – attention in the media.

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