Cox News/Kansas City Star Examines California Stem Cell Ballot Measure
Cox News/Kansas City Star on Monday looked at Proposition 71 -- a measure on the Nov. 2 statewide ballot to fund human stem cell research -- that has put the "controversial topic" of human embryonic stem cell research "front and center before [California] voters" (Keefe, Cox News/Kansas City Star, 11/1). Proposition 71 would issue state bonds to raise an average of $295 million annually over a decade to promote research and provide funds for a new stem cell research center at a University of California campus, as well as grants and loans for laboratory projects at other colleges. State analysts say the measure could cost a total of $6 billion, including interest (California Healthline, 10/29).
According to Cox News/Star, if approved, the effects of the measure "could reach far beyond California's borders, particularly when it comes to the future of America's biotech industry." Other states with "big interests" in biotech -- including Missouri, Georgia, Texas, Florida and North Carolina -- would either have to approve similar funding to compete or "risk losing their top academic minds and biotech businesses to California," which could "dominate the industry," Cox News/Star reports. California already has more biotech companies than any other state, and polls show California voters favor passing the ballot measure.
Alan Lambowitz, director of the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Texas in Austin, said, "Having a source of funds like (California's) ... would be an enormous attraction to people working in the stem cell field." Wayne Johnson, a political consultant for the campaign against the initiative, said, "We support stem cell research. We just don't think we should borrow $3 billion and spend it all on embryonic" stem cell research (Cox News/Kansas City Star, 11/1).
KCET's "Life & Times" on Monday will include a segment on Proposition 71 (Smith, "Life & Times," KCET, 11/1). The complete transcript and audio of the segment in RealPlayer will be available online after the broadcast.
Additional information on Proposition 71 is available online.