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Proposition 14: Stem Cell Research Funding

Prop 14

The ballot initiative would issue $5.5 billion in general obligation bonds for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), which was created to fund stem cell research.

  • State general obligation bonds would fund grants from the CIRM to educational, non-profit, and private entities for: stem cell and other medical research, including training; stem cell therapy development and delivery; research facility construction; and associated administrative expenses
  • Dedicates $1.5 billion to research and therapy for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, epilepsy, and other brain and central nervous system diseases and conditions
  • Appropriates General Fund moneys to pay bond debt service
  • Expands programs promoting stem cell and other medical research, therapy development and delivery, and student and physician training and fellowships

Initiative Text

Support

Proponent website: Yes on 14

 "This medical revolution holds the promise of restoring health and quality of life for many of California’s individuals and families suffering from chronic disease and injury. However, the last tactical mile to bring this broad spectrum of therapies to patients will require more funding and the thoughtful support of California’s public as the human trials and discoveries are refined and tested, overcome numerous obstacles or complications, and ultimately serve to improve the life and reduce the suffering of every one of us."

Robert Klein, Stem Cell Advocate

Opposition

"It does nothing to address CIRM’s built-in conflicts of interest, or its lack of legislative oversight — despite it being an agency supported wholly by public funds. The new proposition makes some things worse; for example, it outsources critically important decisions about ethical standards to an unaccountable national committee. ...While stem cell research is valuable, there are no longer federal limits on its funding, which was the justification in 2004 for asking California voters to allocate the first multi-billion-dollar pot of money. In the meantime, that campaign’s shameless over-promising and hype set the stage for the hundreds of under-regulated commercial stem cell clinics now offering unapproved ‘treatments’ that have caused tumors and blindness. ... Today, California faces an enormous budget deficit and proposals to slash high-priority social programs that benefit all of us. It remains to be seen whether voters will approve a new multi-billion-dollar measure for CIRM, instead of investing in healthcare, housing, jobs, education, and other pressing needs."

Marcy Darnovsky, Executive Director, Center for Genetics and Society

"For one thing, times have changed and the original rationale — California doing what the feds wouldn’t — is no longer applicable. For another, private enterprise has taken a bigger interest and stepped up research in this field. For another, Prop. 14 doesn’t resolve a longstanding lack of oversight and accountability. And finally, imposing new costs on residents is hardly merited when most are struggling."

The Orange County Register Editorial Board

"As California continues to struggle under the catastrophic burden of the coronavirus pandemic, increasing state budget deficits loom, public service cuts are likely and economic recovery is likely to take more than a decade. In 2009, President Barack Obama lifted most of the restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research and demand for the cells has been greatly reduced as other research and technologies have advanced. Adding $5.5 billion to the state debt for just stem cell research would be unwise in these economically dire times."

The Bakersfield Californian Editorial Board

Lisa Sturgis

Lisa Sturgis recently returned to KYMA as its Digital Content Director, but she has a long history with the Desert Southwest.

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