Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Priorities, redux

Dispute over cloning holds up progress on budget:
A fight against human cloning and embryonic stem cell research blocked legislators' way Monday as they sought to resolve budget and tax issues.

The dispute centered on a provision the House added to its version of a bill lawmakers must pass to complete the next state budget. … Supported by abortion opponents, the provision covers research that involves inserting cellular material into a human egg. The Senate rejected a cloning ban in March, and its negotiators don't want the anti-cloning provision in the budget.

"We don't know why we're even doing this in a budget bill," said Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dwayne Umbarger, R-Thayer.
I don't either. I suppose this is an election year thing, but I don't see how spending extra money for a longer session while fighting over a largely symbolic provision will be a political winner. No one is trying to spend state money on this sort of research right now, so it could be taken up again next year during the regular session.

Obviously, I'd oppose the provision next year, too. I think the state ought to be funding this sort of research as part of a larger effort to attract new businesses to the state.

The Kansas Coalition for Lifesaving Cures is working to protect the rights of researchers to pursue these breakthroughs with their own funding and for patients to receive treatments based on that research when it becomes available. They could use your assistance.