New Jersey Lawmakers May Not Approve $350M Stem Cell Research Bill

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 14, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Jersey Lawmakers May Not Approve $350M Stem Cell Research Bill Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 14, 2005

Trenton, NJ ( — Acting Gov. Richard Codey wants to use $350 million in taxpayer funds to pay for embryonic stem cell research in New Jersey, but state lawmakers are balking at the idea in part because of the state’s dreary financial situation.

Codey’s measure would call on New Jersey voters to approve the spending and also add an extra $150 million from the state’s budget to build a research institute at Rutgers University in New Brunswick.

The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved the measure Monday, but companion measure may have problems in the state Assembly.

Joseph Donnelly, a spokesman for current Assembly Speaker Albio Sires, a Democrat, told the Express-Times newspaper that Assembly leaders have discussed the bill but need to debate it fully within the Democratic caucus.

"We had a brief discussion (Monday) in caucus about a myriad of remaining lame-duck issues," he said. "No decisions have been made."

Codey hopes the legislation will be approved in this final meeting of the legislature before he gives up the governor’s seat next month.

The state Senate backed a similar 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.

John Tomicki, executive director of the state chapter of the League of American Families, said the bill should be rejected because it spends money on embryonic stem cell research, which destroys human life and has yet to cure any patients.

"This remains a thorny issue with moral implications," said Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Roberts, a Democrat who will become Speaker in January.