by Steven Ertelt
April 10, 2007
Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — A Florida state House committee approved a bill that would promote adult stem cell research but legislators say the $20 million that Gov. Charlie Crist wanted under the bill may not be available.
On Tuesday, the House Healthcare Council approved HB 1065, the HOPE Act that funds adult stem cell research and prohibits state taxpayer funding on studies involving embryonic stem cells.
But Healthcare Chairman Aaron Bean, a Republican, said that the legislature doesn’t have the $20 million necessary to fund the bill.
Though the amount of funding may be lower than what supporters, including Florida Right to Life, want to see in the bill, the measure is still a good one because it promotes adult stem cells over embryonic ones.
"This bill funds scientific results, not promise," said House sponsor Anitere Flores, according to the Tallahassee newspaper.
Democrats criticized the bill and Rep. Loranne Ausley called the measure "one-sided propaganda" because it doesn’t promote research that involves the destruction of human life.
Responding, David Harris, director of the University of Arizona’s stem cell bank, told the committee that adult stem cells have the best patient to help patients immediately.
Crist is backing the adult stem cell research funding bill after initially campaigning in support of embryonic research. He told the Gainesville Sun newspaper that the change in position has to do with the political reality that many legislators don’t want to fund the destruction of human life.
"What is important is that we get this started… that we have a dedicated funding mechanism," Crist has told reporters. "We have to start somewhere."
Meanwhile, Rep. Franklin Sands, a Democrat, has also filed a bill, HB 555, that would require the state to spend $20 million on embryonic stem cell research.
As the legislature debates, the Florida Supreme Court was asked last month to examine the constitutionality of two competing ballot measures that may appear during the 2008 elections. bio1897.html
One would ask state voters to prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to pay for embryonic stem cell research while the other would expressly allow it.
Both sides have been working to collect enough signatures to get their measures on the ballot and they both surpassed the 10 percent mark that then requires the state’s high court to evaluate the language
Backers of the pro-life proposal submitted their prohibition measure. It says "No revenue of the state shall be spent on experimentation that involves the destruction of a live human embryo."
Also, in December, justices received the text of the funding proposal which would force the state to spend $20 million annually for 10 years on embryonic research, which is nowhere close to helping patients.