Florida Lawmaker Sponsors Bill to Fund Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 5, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Florida Lawmaker Sponsors Bill to Fund Embryonic Stem Cell Research Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
October 5, 2005

Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — While groups for and against embryonic stem cell research are working on drives to put competing proposals on the ballot in November 2006, a state lawmakers has sponsored a bill to use taxpayer funds to pay for the unproven research.

On Monday, Sen. Ron Klein, a Democrat, sponsored a bill that would spend $15 million in state funds each year over 10 years for stem cell research, including the kind that results in the destruction of human life. Rep. Franklin Sands will sponsor the House version.

The introduction of the bill has prompted Palm Beach County Commissioner Burt Aaronson to stop his ballot campaign to force Florida voters to pay for embryonic stem cell research.

"We believe it is good government to enact a law funding this research, rather than having to amend the Florida Constitution to do so," Aaronson said at a press conference to announced the bill. "We support the Florida Legislature taking this up in March 2006 and we encourage that this legislation be passed."

Aaronson had wanted $200 million over 10 years compared to the $150 million pricetag in Klein’s measure.

However, should the measure fail in the state legislature or, just as likely, be vetoed by pro-life Florida Gov. Jen Bush, who opposes the destructive research, Aaronson said he would resume collecting signatures and shoot for getting the proposal on the ballot in 2008.

In attempting to avoid the conflict of interest problems in California’s Proposition 71, Klein’s bill would create two seven-member advisory boards within the Florida Department of Health that would make decisions about when and where to disburse the funds.

Susan Cutaia, a Boca Raton businesswoman, is leading up an effort to gather signatures for a constitutional amendment to appear on the November 2006 ballot that would prohibit using state funds for embryonic stem cell research. Pro-life groups say her proposal becomes more important in light of Klein’s legislation.

In August, Bush told the Associated Press that he continues to oppose embryonic stem cell research and taxpayer funding for it because it involves killing human embryos, unique human beings.

”I don’t believe the state should be providing funding for that type of activity,” Bush said. "I think it’s a false hope in a lot of ways. But more importantly, it’s the encouraging of the creation of life to take life.”

Towson Fraser, a spokesman for House Speaker Allan Bense, a Republican, said he would strongly oppose spending state money for the unproven research, which has yet to cure any patients.