by Steven Ertelt
June 26, 2006
Trenton, NJ (LifeNews.com) — A New Jersey state Senate committee has approved a measure that would put a stem cell research proposal in front of state voters. It would ask them to support a bond issue which requires the state to borrow $230 million for embryonic stem cell research, even though New Jersey faces a fiscal crisis.
The money, which would come in over seven years, would fund stem cell research centers in New Brunswick, Newark and Camden.
Lawmakers worried about New Jersey’s budget woes and pro-life legislators who don’t want taxpayer money spent on destroying human life oppose the bill, but a Senate budget panel approved it on an 8-3 vote and sent it to the full Senate for consideration.
Sen. Barbara Buono, a Middlesex Democrat who is pushing the bill, refused to consider amendments to the legislation that would have it funding only research on adult stem cells. Unlike their embryonic counterparts, adult stem cells have already produced dozens of treatments and cures.
The Senate approved the measure last year, but the Assembly never voted on it and it hasn’t brought up the measure this year.
Senate President Richard Codey, the former acting governor who is also promoting the legislation, said last month that New Jersey voters probably won’t vote on bonds until next year.
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, says he is 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.