Stem cell fight delays higher ed budget

Lansing, MI – Lawmakers at the state Capitol are trying to wrap up details of the budget before an October first deadline. The budget bill for public universities is hung up because Republicans want to include rules on how stem cell clinics conduct their research.

Representative Joan Bauer is the lead negotiator for the House Democrats. She says the Legislature should not add new rules to an amendment that voters approved in 2008. It allows universities and publicly funded clinics to conduct research using embryonic stem cells.

Bauer says, "I think the people of Michigan have been pretty clear about their feelings with regard to stem cell research, and I think this boilerplate language in the higher education budget is counter to that."

Other efforts to enact new rules around embryonic stem cell research have failed in the Legislature. Researchers say they follow clinical ethics rules in addition to what voters approved in the amendment.