New Jersey Lawmakers Deal With Governor for Stem Cell Research Centers

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 7, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Jersey Lawmakers Deal With Governor for Stem Cell Research Centers Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 7, 2005

Trenton, NJ ( — New Jersey lawmakers struck a deal with outgoing Governor Codey that would create two stem cell research centers that would deal with embryonic stem cell research opposed by pro-life groups. A package of bills introduced Monday would split $145 million between the two.

Once center is planned for the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark and another center is planned for Rutgers University in New Brunswick.

The state Senate backed that proposal earlier this year but the state Assembly blocked it because lawmakers were upset at spending so much money on the unproven research during a time of financial concern for the state.

One of the key opponents was Assemblyman Neil Cohen, a Democrat who ended up brokering the compromise with Codey.

"In the end, I got two stem cell research facilities for less than the price of one," Cohen told the Herald News.

He explained that the legislation has been set up to be approved prior to the end of the "lame duck" session of the legislature early next month.

The plan would spend $95 million in taxpayer funds for the Rutgers center and another $50 million for the NJIT facility. The money would be raised by the sale of bonds backed by revenues from taxes on cigarettes.

Meanwhile, the Governor and Cohen agreed on a proposal that would ask New Jersey voters if they want to spend $350 more in taxpayer funds over seven years for additional embryonic stem cell research grants.

Marie Tasy, executive director of New Jersey Right to Life, opposes both bills because the research involves the destruction of human life and possibly human cloning.

"It’s an exercise in deception," Tasy told the Herald News. "It’s cloaked in all these flowery terms of curing people when in fact there’s no evidence that embryonic research has cured one individual."