Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Walking a Thin Line at the California Stem Cell Agency

California's stem cell agency has a delicate dance to perform as it edges closer to seeing a $5 billion measure on the ballot to provide more funding for its efforts.
The dance involves a prohibition on state agencies spending public money on behalf of bond measures. The $3 billion agency has a legitimate responsibility to keep the public informed about its activities, but when does that task step over a legal line? 
CALmatters, an online news site devoted to state government matters, touched on the issue this morning. Dan Morain, the site's senior editor, wrote about a couple of cases in the last election.
In his morning newsletter "What Matters," he cited a tiny fine imposed on the Bay Area Rapid Transit District and another case involving an $800,000 expenditure by Los Angeles County board of supervisors, which is unresolved.
As for the stem cell agency, it is certain to be accused of using public money to support any ballot measure that may emerge in 2020. 
That would be part of the political tactics of opponents to the measure -- a portrayal of the stem cell agency as unworthy of voter trust.
The agency is treading lightly in this area right now, a position that will serve it well as more clarity emerges on whether a ballot initiative will actually surface on the November 2020 ballot. 
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