View Full Version : You don't have to live in Texas to help
03-31-2009, 09:02 PM
From Americans for Cures Foundation
Please make one phone call, to protect Texas stem cell research-- it doesn't matter where you live.
Texas has the possibility of funding genuinely vast amounts of research, with a budgeted three billion dollars for cancer alone. We dare not lose the enormous contributions of this vital state.
What to do? First, if you live in Texas : Click on this link http://www.americansforcuresfoundation.org/lists/lt.php?id=cUVXVAEEUQEZDQIYCwIFVFs%3D and enter your home address under "who represents me" to find your senator's phone number.
CALL OR FAX YOUR STATE SENATOR WITH THIS MESSAGE:
"Stem cell research is important to me, to my family, and to millions of Texans; it is unacceptable for the Texas Legislature to pass any bill or rider which restricts embryonic stem cell research done under National Academy of Science ethical guidelines. I want Senator _____________ to make sure that neither SB 1's prohibitive rider nor SB 1695 become part of Texas law."
Don't live in Texas? Call anyway: here is the key person we want to reach, David Dewhurst, President of the Senate and Lt. Governor:
Tell him (or whoever answers) that you oppose the anti-embryonic stem cell research rider on the Texas budget this year. Tell him that you oppose SB 1695.
The problem? Senator Steve Ogden (R-Bryan) inserted a provision banning state funds for any form of embryonic stem cell research-- into the Texas budget (SB 1).
Senator Ogden's accompanying bill, SB 1695, would "...end all embryonic stem cell research...in any of the laboratories of our state. Even private institutions like Baylor College of Medicine would be affected because they receive state funding".-- Dr. Ralph Dittman, of Texans for the Advancement of Medical Research (TAMR).
STAND TALL FOR TEXAS TODAY--HELP PROTECT STEM CELL RESEA RCH!
Thanks so much,
Your friends at Americans for Cures Foundation
04-02-2009, 04:37 PM
Wouldn't it be nice if politics stayed out of science? I wish I could say this was an April Fool's joke, but it's not.
April 1, 2009, 8:24PM
By injecting an amendment into the Texas Senate budget bill to ban state funding for stem cell research that involves the destruction of a human embryo, Finance Committee Chairman Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, has provided a textbook example of how powerful elected officials can end-run democratic processes to suit their own ideological agendas.
Passed with scant discussion by Ogden?s committee 6-5, the budget bill includes a rider that if allowed to become law, will inflict serious damage to efforts to boost regenerative medicine research in Texas, particularly at state institutions, including the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.
Proponents of the stem cell funding ban have failed to pass bills in previous legislative sessions, as lawmakers from both parties have opposed it. Republican House members Beverly Woolley of Houston and Rick Hardcastle of Vernon are among the key supporters of responsible stem cell research, as is U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.
Now that the administration of President Barack Obama is dismantling federal barriers to expanded fetal stem cell use, new state funding restrictions would drive talent and research dollars to other states.
An open letter to legislators from pre-eminent members of the state?s scientific community contends that the ban would ?halt ongoing research projects and negatively impact the ability of the Texas academic health institutions, both public and private, to competitively recruit and retain world-class scientists, professors and medical students in the biological sciences.? They contend that since private funding is almost never available for early-stage biomedical research, ?a ban such as this would effectively stifle this research in Texas.? The letter is signed by researchers from Baylor College of Medicine, the UT Health System and Rice, as well as two Nobel Laureates and a former presidential science adviser.
Bernard L. Weinstein, who directs the Center for Economic Development and Research at the University of North Texas at Denton, says the ban would run counter to a campaign by Gov. Rick Perry to boost the Texas biotech industries. It would cost the state billions of dollars in economic activity while undermining Texas? image as a hospitable environment for research.
State Rep. Ellen Cohen, a Democrat whose district includes the Texas Medical Center, says the amendment was ?passed with no public debate or input from the thousands of doctors, researchers and medical professionals responsible for extending so many lives ? I cannot stand by silently when the voices of so many responsible for so much good are not even heard.?
Ogden?s amendment is no minor technical measure inserted for some hometown special interests. It is an attack on the viability of a vital sector of the state economy and upon the well-being of future thousands of desperately ill Texans who could benefit from the cures resulting from stem cell advances.
Late Wednesday the Senate passed the budget, including Ogden?s amendment, by a vote of 26-5. Before the vote, he explained that his intent was not to ban all such research but to keep state money from being used directly for research involving the destruction of a human embryo. Whatever his stated intent, more progressive members should strike the ban when the budget reaches conference committee.
While claiming the moral high ground in defense of fertility clinic embryos that are routinely discarded, Ogden used the amendment route rather than relying on his own bill with similar wording that would have faced public hearings and an up-and-down vote by colleagues.
This issue is far too important to be decided by a back-room legislative maneuver. It is now up to responsible lawmakers in the Texas Senate and House to counter Ogden?s power play and approve a budget that does not undermine the ability of our medical institutions to participate in the renewed national effort to advance a promising field of medical research.
04-03-2009, 09:24 AM
There is an update to this situation, which is blogged here and other places:
Apparently, Sen. Ogden didn't realize that his language was so strong that it could prevent even state universities from participating in embryonic stem cell research. In other words, use of a state facility, state-paid electricity, etc. would not be allowed.
This immediately set off many of his democratic colleagues.
There is still good hope that this amendment will die in conference committee late spring/early summer before session ends and the budget is final.
If nothing else, it will be modified so that federal and private funds can aid the stem cell research in Texas. Use of Texas state funds continue to be in question, but then, this is Texas!
05-03-2009, 11:07 PM
As I had been advised by a friend at the Texas senate, Senator Ogden's language restricting embryonic stem cell research in Texas did not make it into the Texas House of Representative's version of the Texas budget.
The fight now will culminate when the House and Senate meet in Conference Committee (as I said in my above post) where Senator Ogden's ideas will hopefully go down in flames! :)
The legislative session ends June 2nd, and the people involved with the website below are fighting for the demise of Senator Ogden's desires in regard to embryonic stem cell research in Texas. You may be interested in checking them out. They are quite politically active:
05-04-2009, 08:29 PM
Thanks Harv for this information. I would like to send Senator Ogden a match to start the fire.
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