by Steven Ertelt
December 7, 2006
Trenton, NJ (LifeNews.com) — Lawmakers in the New Jersey Assembly say they have enough votes to approve two bills that constitute a $550 million plan to spend taxpayer dollars on stem cell research. The money would partly fund embryonic stem cell research that destroys human life and is nowhere close to helping patients.
The bills include one spending $270 million on new stem cell research centers and the other would put a referendum on the state ballot to borrow $230 million for stem cell research.
The state Assembly will consider the first measure next week, Assemblyman Neil Cohen, the bill’s sponsor told Bloomberg News, and the second bill would get a vote in January or February.
Senate President Richard Codey, who is the primary state Senate sponsor of the measures, is ready to push them there if the Assembly signs off on them. Governor Jon Corzine has promoted both bills and would sign them.
Senate Minority Leader Leonard Lance told Bloomberg News he’s concerned about the financial implications of the bills.
”I think we have far too much debt in New Jersey already," he said. ”For me, the primary issue is the debt level."
The research center proposal includes $150 million to build stem cell research institutes in New Brunswick, Camden, and an adult stem cell research facility at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark. The money would also go towards the Garden State Cancer Center in Belleville and the Elie Katz Umbilical Cord Blood Program in Allendale.
The second measure would borrow $230 million over seven years — a proposal pro-life groups oppose because it would pay for embryonic stem cell research.
The Senate approved that measure 26 to 9 in July but would need to vote again because of changes to the bill in the Assembly.
Before the Senate vote, pro-life lawmakers failed in an attempt to make sure the funds would be spent on adult stem cells but not embryonic ones.
Sen. Anthony Bucco, a Republican, tried to add an amendment to the bill to not fund embryonic stem cell research because it isn’t anywhere close to producing cures for patients. Adult stem cells have already yielded dozens of treatments for various diseases.
The Senate rejected Bucco’s amendment on a 23-14 vote.
"Especially in these times," Bucco said. "You hear about the crisis every day, yet they never want to stop spending money and continue spending money on things that haven’t been proven."
Marie Tasy, the director of New Jersey Right to Life says her group strongly favors stem cell research but only supports the kind that doesn’t involve the destruction of human life.
"We would be very happy to support this if we could limit the research to just adult stem cell," she has said.
"Despite 20 years of research, embryonic stem cells have not provided one cure, are full of inherent problems and risks and yet NJ lawmakers continue to irresponsibly perpetuate false hope and pursue public funding resources to satisfy the big moneyed interests of the biotech lobby," she said in a statement provided to LifeNews.com.
Related web sites:
New Jersey Right to Life – https://www.njrtl.org