Tuesday, August 07, 2018

California Lawmakers Schedule Update Next Week on the State's $3 Billion Stem Cell Agency

The parents of this child will be testifying next week at a state legislative hearing

For the first time in many years, a California state legislative committee is going to take a look at the state's $3 billion, 13-year-old stem cell research program.

An informational hearing is scheduled for next week, Aug. 15, by the Assembly 
Select Committee on Biotechnology, chaired by Kevin Mullin, D-San Mateo. His district includes a number of biotech firms. No legislation is up for action, and the hearing is not intended to necessarily lead to legislation.

Scheduled to appear before committee are Jonathan Thomas, chairman of the governing board of the agency, and Maria Millan, president and CEO of the agency, formally known as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).  

The last time a CIRM CEO appeared before a state legislative committee was in 2005 when Zach Hall, then interim CEO testified. 

Also on tap is Jan Nolta, head of the stem cell program at UC Davis, which now stands as the No. 5 recipient of CIRM funds with $138 million. From Folsom will come a couple, Pawash Priyank and Upsana Thakur, whose infant child is now alive as the result of experimental research backed by the agency. The publisher of the California Stem Cell Report, David Jensen, is also scheduled to appear.

The stem cell agency is unique in California history and is a global leader in funding of stem cell research. It operates outside of the normal state budgetary process with its state bond funding flowing directly to it without the usual state budgetary oversight exercised by the governor and the legislature. That is all due to the ballot initiative that created the agency in 2004 and altered the state constitution.

The agency is scheduled to run out of cash next year. It is hoping that voters will approve $5 billion more for it in November 2020.

Next week's hearing, which will be in room 444 in the Capitol, will be available live on the Internet on the day of the  hearing via this page.  It will be archived as well and will be found via this link.

(To see the text of testimony at the hearing, search this blog on the term "assembly biotech hearing.")

(Editor's Note: An earlier version of this item misspelled the last name of Kevin Mullin.)

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful that you have been invited to join this meeting, David. I wish I could be there!


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