by Steven Ertelt
April 27, 2006
Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — Florida lawmakers tackled the controversial issue of embryonic stem cell research this week and rejected spending tax money on it. In the Senate, lawmakers narrowly missed adding an amendment to a bill that would have provided regulations for the studies, that draw opposition from pro-life groups.
The Florida Senate on Thursday rejected an amendment that would have provided more oversight for the research and $15 million in state money for it.
Democratic lawmakers hoped to attach the amendment to another measure that provides $30 million for other types of research. It would have had the Florida Health Department create guidelines to monitor and track the donation of embryonic stem cells in the state.
lawmakers wanted the measure saying it would help legitimatize embryonic stem cell research.
"If families make a decision that they want to donate the material . . . we want to make sure there is a clear set of guidelines about how this is taking place, and we are following strict moral ethical guidelines," said Sen. Ron Klein, according to a Gannett News Service report.
Half of the 40 members of the Senate voted for the measure, but a two-thirds vote was needed to amend the bill, so it failed.
The Senate vote comes after members of a committee approved the bill that the amendment was based on, SB 468.
Members of the Senate Health Care Committee approved the bill but it still had to go through other Senate committees and with less than two weeks left in the session there were no more committee meetings scheduled.
As a result, the measure had to be added to another bill as an amendment.
The state House has already voted overwhelmingly against using taxpayer funds to pay for the research, which involves the destruction of human life to obtain stem cells. Governor Jeb Bush, a Republican, also opposes spending state funds on the controversial science, which has yet to cure any patients.
In the House some legislators wanted to use $1 million of the money in the budget for cancer research on embryonic stem cell studies.
Catholic Conference lobbyist Michael Sheed told the Associated Press, "But this is not so much a religious objection, this is a human issue. It’s about human beings and human dignity. A human embryo is a human being."
Pro-life groups including Florida Right to Life, the Florida Baptist Convention and others also oppose spending state funds on it.