by Steven Ertelt
March 10, 2006
Annapolis, MD (LifeNews.com) — The Maryland state Senate put the final touches on a stem cell research bill that was heavily modified from the House version that upset pro-life lawmakers. The measure now faces uncertain prospects and could be vetoed by Gov. Bob Ehrlich.
Despite several amendments to reduce the problems associated with the measure, pro-life lawmakers still opposed the measure. The Senate approved it on a 29-18 vote.
The Senate bill differs substantially from the House version of the bill, which spends $25 million annually in taxpayer funds on the research. The House bill also gives priority to embryonic stem cell research even though it is nowhere close to helping patients and destroys human life.
The Senate measure simply establishes a precedent for funding stem cell research and leaves the amount and type of research funded up to the governor. It also doesn’t authorize annual funding.
The Senate measure also makes sure two religious leaders would have input on how the funds are spent.
With the two chambers having approved the bill, the question remains as to what version of it will be sent to the governor.
But it may not matter, because Ehrlich has said he wants state lawmakers to follow his lead on handling the divisive issue. He has proposed spending $20 million in the state budget on the research and letting a biotech committee determine how to allocate the funds.
Still, he said the Senate made good progress in modifying the bill.
"To some extent the philosophical orientation of the research itself has been minimized, not to my extreme pleasure, but we’ve made some progress there," Ehrlich said, according to the Baltimore Sun.
The House approved its measure on a 85-54 vote margin.
TAKE ACTION: Contact your state Representative and Senator and urge strong opposition to embryonic stem cell research. You can find contact info at – https://mlis.state.md.us.