Wednesday, April 21, 2010

MI Senate Republicans Vote to Place New Obstacles on Stem Cell Research

Instead of working towards bipartisan and responsible solutions to our urgent budget issues (ha ha ha! I crack myself up), today the Michigan Senate Republicans are focusing on overturning the will of the voters and pandering to their extreme right wing base by passing new legislation that will "place a chill" on stem cell research.

In other news, today is Wednesday. And the sun rose in the east. And if you vote Republican, this is the kind of behavior you will get. Oh, they are "free market, anti-government" alright, except when it comes to bowing to the wishes of social conservatives that want to impose their particular worldview on individuals and our state's economy alike. In that case, more government regulation is a good thing, don'tcha know.

These new reporting measures and regulations (complete with fines) have University of Michigan researchers fuming:

Cynthia Wilbanks, UM’s vice president for government relations, said the bills “create unnecessary and burdensome regulations governing embryonic stem cell research in the state” and “discourage our scientists from pursuing research that promises to improve the treatment of deadly diseases.”

After the state constitutional amendment was approved in November 2008, Wilbanks said UM spent more than a year to establish a framework for the conduct of embryonic stem cell research that meets the requirements of the new state law and all other applicable laws, regulations and guidelines.

“The new reporting requirements included in these bills would do nothing to advance public health and would create a disruptive work environment for those engaged in this research,” Wilbanks said in a statement.

Even anti-choice Senator Bruce Patterson couldn't stomach the measures:

Pro-life Republican Sen. Bruce Patterson of Canton joined Democrats in opposing the package. He said he believes the bills are unconstitutional because the amendment approved by voters allows stem cell research within the same limits allowed by federal law. He said the amendment prohibits the Legislature from enacting more restrictive parameters.

"I'm a self-described right to life advocate, and I believe my record supports that," Patterson said. "I'm sorry, but I believe these laws go farther than that."

And if that wasn't enough - hold onto your hats, are you sitting down? - even Andy Dillon "suggested" the Senate was playing politics.

“The people of Michigan rendered their verdict on Proposal 2 during the 2008 election when they voted to amend the state’s Constitution,” Dillon said in a statement.

“The Senate bills appear to be political in nature and ignore both the will of the people as well as the state’s constitution. The House is and will remain focused on addressing the state’s jobs and fiscal crises,” Dillon said.

Whoa Andy, settle down there. Since everything that comes out of our Senate is "political in nature", you are traveling down the slippery slope if you are going to start pointing that out, my friend. Better pace yourself.

This should get buried in the House, but they were crazy enough to take up the divisive helmet issue, so who knows. Just keep this in mind for the fall: Michigan, if you elect Republicans, we go right back to the hypocrisy of them using "government" in whatever way it pleases their extreme right wing base. Economic growth and the Michigan Constitution will not matter one bit.