Appeals Court To Hear Stem Cell Agency Lawsuit
A state appeals court on Thursday set a Feb. 14 hearing for oral arguments in a case questioning the constitutionality of the state's stem cell agency, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Somers, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/19).
California voters in 2004 approved Proposition 71 to create the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and provide $3 billion in taxpayer funding over 10 years for stem cell research (California Healthline, 1/10). The funding primarily was intended to finance stem cell research, such as human embryonic stem cell research, for which federal funds are restricted.
Advocacy groups are appealing an April 2006 ruling in an Alameda Superior Court that found that the agency's $3 billion in taxpayer funding was constitutional and that the agency was legal and accountable to the public.
The plaintiffs in 2005 filed suit to question the measure's constitutionality because state elected officials do not have direct control over how the $3 billion could be spent.
The state has not issued bonds through the program while the lawsuit is pending.
The First District Court of Appeals in San Francisco has 90 days after the hearing to issue a ruling. The advocacy groups said that if the court upholds the ruling, they likely will appeal the lawsuit to the state Supreme Court (San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/19).
As the CIRM oversight board in the ensuring months seeks to select a new president to succeed Zach Hall, "the board must make certain qualifications priorities," a Sacramento Bee editorial states. "The next president must be a leader of integrity, with experience in running a public agency and a commitment to transparency," according to the editorial. Hall "provided this leadership" and "[g]ives the board something to build on," the editorial concludes (Sacramento Bee, 1/19).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.