by Steven Ertelt
May 25, 2006
Trenton, NJ (LifeNews.com) — Senate President Richard Codey, the former acting governor who is pushing a bill to use taxpayer funds on embryonic stem cell research through the state legislature, says New Jersey voters probably won’t vote on bonds to pay for the funding until next year. Ironically, he echoed concerns pro-life lawmakers made that the state was in too bad of a financial situation to float the bonds now.
Codey made the remarks at a press conference he held at a stem cell research center in Piscataway.
He indicated he would be too tough to convince voters to support the bond issue now, which requires the state to borrow $325 million, when New Jersey faces a fiscal crisis.
"I would suspect we will have to wait until (next) year," Codey said, according to a Star Ledger newspaper report.
"Oh sure, I would have liked to have seen it on this November’s ballot … (but) right now, we’re in a very tough budget crisis and, I think, that it is something that a lot of people in the Legislature are leery of doing at the same time," he added.
Codey’s remarks came as the current governor, Jon Corzine, made a trip to Asia to tout New Jersey as a center for biomedical research with the hopes of persuading some foreign firms to relocate or open up offices there.
Corzine spokesman Anthony Coley told the Star Legislature the governor wants the bond proposal to get a vote as soon as possible.
"We have the opportunity, and indeed the responsibility [to vote on it soon]," he said.
The ballot issue is one of two parts of the package to fund embryonic stem cell research and has been bottled up in the legislature.
The state Senate signed off on the other measure, which would spend $250 million on stem cell research centers in New Brunswick, Newark and Camden, but the state Assembly has not acted on it.
According to the Star Ledger, Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts, a Democrat, is holding up the bill until the Senate acts on some unrelated legislation he favors.
But, Assemblyman Neil Cohen, who is pushing the measure in the House, told the newspaper he was going to do everything he could to get it approved this year.
Some supporters of embryonic stem cell research were disappointed by Codey’s comments and worried that if the ballot proposition doesn’t make it on the ballot this year, lawmakers will be reluctant to put it on next year because its an election year for New Jersey voters too.
The legislature must approve the bill by August to get the stem cell research bond proposal on the ballot.