Legislation Imposes Oversight Laws on State Stem Cell Agency
The Senate Health Committee on Wednesday approved an amendment to the state constitution (SCA 13) that would modify provisions of Proposition 71, the Knight Ridder/San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The amendment, by Sen. Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacramento), would require the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee to comply with state open meeting and record laws.
In addition, research grants would include provisions for possible state royalties and employees and members of advisory and working groups would be required to conform to NIH conflict-of-interest regulations (Knight Ridder/San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/21).
SCA 13 now goes to the constitutional amendment panel for consideration. The amendment requires a two-thirds vote by each house of the Legislature to be placed on the ballot.
Gene Erbin, a lobbyist for CIRM, told the committee, "I think you're rushing to judgment. We would ask for some leniency."
Ortiz said, "There is a higher level of accountability. This is a hybrid. This is a new model." She added, "In the end, it is the taxpayers who either benefit or lose in that equation" (Kurtzman, San Jose Mercury News, 4/21).
The Senate Health Committee also voted to approve SB 18, which would require doctors to inform research volunteers of the potential health risks of donating their eggs and receive written consent from donors (AP/Fresno Bee, 4/20).
The bill, by Ortiz, also would establish regulations for ensuring the repayment of the state's investment, broad financial disclosure requirements, standards for the oversight committee and other groups regarding conflicts of interest, public meetings and affordability requirements for stem cell therapies (California Healthline, 12/7/04).
SB 18 now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration (Knight Ridder/San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/21).
In related news, C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" on Thursday included an interview with ICOC Chair Robert Klein about the agency's structure, funding mechanism, congressional support and positions on sources of embryonic stem cells and the state's prohibition of human reproductive cloning ("Washington Journal," C-SPAN, 4/21). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer and Windows Media.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.