Archive for the ‘stem cells’ Category

A ‘USDA choice’ pro-lifer as House rules chairman

Even some insiders at the state Capitol may not know that, for the past two years, the leadership of the Republican-controlled House and significant elements of the pro-life community have not been on speaking terms.

At issue has been the anti-abortion movement’s effort to define human embryos as individuals worthy of the protection offered by the state constitution. Each year, the House has balked.

Bill Hembree of Douglas County, the new House rules chairman

Bill Hembree of Douglas County, the new House rules chairman

The issue is directly linked with embryonic stem cell research in Georgia, and attempts to expand the bio-tech industry in the state.

Frustration with Speaker Glenn Richardson became intense and personal – despite the Legislature’s passage of other anti-abortion measures, including one that required physicians to offer sonograms to women seeking abortions.

Richardson was pro-life in a generic sense, said Mike Griffin of Hartwell, legislative director and lobbyist for Georgia Right to Life. “But he wasn’t ‘USDA choice’ …

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Your morning jolt: The unmentioned topic of science education, and Georgia Republicans in the GM fight

Many things to catch up on today:

— The state of Georgia spent $1.8 million to attract 14,300 or so to a huge biotech conference in Atlanta last week.

The event was pronounced a resounding success. Gov. Sonny Perdue, who was named governor of the year by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, danced with a robot, according to my AJC colleague Dan Chapman.

The Legislature’s proclivity to inject itself into the stem cell debate was mentioned in the hallways, but was not an official topic.

Another glossed-over topic was a state-by-state analysis of biological science education in American high schools, sponsored by the same outfit that named Perdue its favorite governor.

Georgia finished at the bottom, in a “lagging performance” category that also included Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia.

— Jon Lewis of WSB Radio ran into former Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes on the Memorial Day circuit. Barnes appears to …

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Your morning jolt: Committee chairman says embryonic stem cell bill won’t move out of House

A bill to put restrictions on embryonic stem cell research in Georgia won’t see the light of day this session, the chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee said this morning.

“I’m not going to do anything with that this session in the House,” said state Rep. Amos Amerson (R-Dahlonega). “We’ve gotten 500 e-mails and faxes on it, roughly 50-50. We had to shut off the fax machine — they were using all the toner. I figure anything with that much controversy needs a little more study.”

Amerson also mentioned a May convention of 20,000 biotech experts in Atlanta, which has been eyed by state officials as a chance to recruit cutting-edge industries. “I don’t want to put anything up that might be a stumbling block for economic development,” he said.

S.B. 169 passed the Senate after harsh debate last month. Originally intended to put restrictions on clinics that provide invitro fertilization treatments, the measure currently prohibits one form of …

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Hudgens to join insurance race, but that may be no consolation to biotech interests

Certain members of Georgia’s biotech industry had to be smiling this morning, when they read about a new Republican candidate for state insurance commissioner.

Reports the Athens Banner-Herald:

State Sen. Ralph Hudgens, R-Hull, will run for state insurance commissioner in 2010, he said today.

Hudgens is chairman of the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee, a group of legislators that recommends changes to state insurance law.

Hudgens, of course, was the sponsor of S.B. 169, a bill that started as a measure to restrict clinics that offer invitro fertilization, and now — as passed by the Senate — limits embryonic stem cell research in Georgia.

But biotekkies can stop smiling now. Just got off the phone with Tim Echols of Clarke County, one of the organizers of the campaign against the Sunday sales bill. He’s looking at the Senate seat.

Echols said he’s already talked to Hudgens and U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, for whom Echols served as campaign treasurer. “Both have …

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Your morning jolt

Found while perusing this morning’s ajc.com:

  • Furloughs may be in store for Georgia teachers.
  • Why you’re still paying tolls on Ga. 400.
  • CDC begins to scale back on salmonella outbreak.
  • State leaders weak on big issues, says Sam Olens, Cobb commission chair, ARC chief — and possible candidate for governor.
  • Life-without-parole bill pulled from House vote.
  • Georgia Power gets nod to build more nuclear reactors.
  • Future of Macon’s Security Bank in doubt, auditor says.
  • Home Depot stock rises on slow growth plan.
  • Elsewhere in Georgia:

  • MT: Lucid Idiocy spots a House move to cut State Ethics Commission budget in half.
  • ABH: Fresh from stem cell fight, Hudgens to run for state insurance commissioner.
  • And the nation:

  • Politico: Five questions for AIG’s Edward Liddy.
  • WP: Edward Liddy himself, on “Our Mission at AIG: Repairs, and Repayment.”
  • WSJ: Treasury will make grab to recoup bonus funds.
  • CBS: In first post-presidential speech, Bush says Obama “deserves my silence.”
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    Republicans and embryonic stem cell research

    State Sen. David Adelman (D-Atlanta) questions Preston Smith (R-Rome) during stem cell debate. Kim Smith/AJC

    State Sen. David Adelman (D-Atlanta) questions Preston Smith (R-Rome) during stem cell debate. Kim Smith/AJC

    Barack Obama couldn’t have pitched a more volatile issue into the lap of the Georgia Republican party had he wrapped it in black electrical tape and attached a timer.

    By lifting federal restrictions on embryonic stem cell research last week, the president has guaranteed a fractious, maybe permanent, debate over limits on the biotech industry and academic inquiry in this state — and much of the South.

    Within three days of Obama’s long-expected announcement, the state Senate passed S.B. 169, a bill to prohibit one form of embryonic stem cell research, therapeutic cloning.

    The state university system and its flagship institution opposed the measure. Gov. Sonny Perdue appeared to endorse it. His chief industry recruiter, Kenneth Stewart, commissioner of the state Department of Economic Development, was noticeably silent.

    More than gay marriage, more than abortion, and …

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    Perdue again expresses opposition to embryonic stem cell research

    Gov. Sonny Perdue this morning reemphasized his opposition to embryonic stem cell research, and appeared to endorse the main points of a bill passed by the state Senate that would restrict it.

    Gov. Sonny Perdue/Associated Press

    Gov. Sonny Perdue/Associated Press

    Perdue said he “can not, in my conscience,” support the use of human embryos in stem cell research. His remarks came during a brief news conference at the Georgia Aquarium, and were picked up by my AJC colleague Stacy Shelton.

    “I think we can solve some of the tougher issues without sacrificing human embryos,” the governor said. He called the use of human embryos for medical research “unfortunate.”

    On Thursday, after much debate, the Senate passed S.B. 169, which stopped short of barring Georgia couples from donating spare embryos created during invitro fertilization to science — but would prohibit the creation of embryos for the purpose of research.

    That would rule out one form of embryonic stem cell research — somatic cell nuclear transfers, …

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    Your morning jolt. With video.

    Found while perusing this morning’s ajc.com:

  • Federal appeals court upholds gun ban in airport.
  • Localities form co-ops to buy gas cheaper.
  • House to teenagers: Hang up and drive.
  • Senate passes ethics bill with compromise on income tax reports for lawmakers.
  • Senate OK’s bill for possible taxes for police and firefighters in Atlanta.
  • House votes to axe the birthday tax, but you’d have to pay sales tax on car purchases.
  • Autism bill pulled in Senate.
  • House votes to cut teacher bonuses.
  • Tax credits for home-buying approved.
  • Some opinion:

  • Jim Wooten on Chevys, Fords and clodhoppers.
  • Elsewhere in Georgia.

  • MT: Lucid Idiocy on an increase in bingo prizes.
  • PP: Ed Tarver’s no-lying-at-the-Capitol bill passes the Senate.
  • And in the nation:

  • WP: For Six Flags, debt squeeze looms as latest hurdle.
  • WP: Fed says Americans lost wealth at staggering rate in ‘08.
  • WSJ: Noonan on the lack of a pill for this kind of depression.
  • NYT: Obama is on the spot as rulings aid gay partners.
  • And you …

    Continue reading Your morning jolt. With video. »

    Senate bill would prohibit at least one form of embryonic stem cell research

    After nearly backing away from the issue this afternoon, Senate Republicans on Thursday evening passed a bill that would prohibit at least one form of embryonic stem cell research in Georgia.

    Somatic cell nuclear transfers, a form of research being used to find a cure for juvenile diabetes, would barred under the legislation, which over the course of six days had morphed several times.

    When it finally passed, S.B. 169 was stripped of all penalties, criminal and civil, and faces an unlikely future in the House. Even so, Christian conservatives claimed victory and predicted it would send a message to biotech companies thinking of doing business in Georgia.

    “We’ve established a beachhead in the 21st century. We know we’ve got major battles coming up,” said Dan Becker, president of Georgia Right to Life, as he stood outside chamber, thanking senators as they left for the evening.

    The bill was originally intended to restrict multiple births through invitro fertilization — …

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    Change coming to embryonic stem cell bill

    There’s little question that S.B. 169, the former invitro fertilization bill that now would restrict embryonic stem cell research in Georgia, will pass the state Senate late this evening.

    This is not only Crossover Day, but Catholic Day as well — by resolution of the Senate.

    However, the stem cell measure is at the very bottom of the Senate calendar — the placement intended to keep most Republicans from ducking out as the hours wear on.

    The stem cell bill has two pertinent portions: a) It would declare embryos to be persons deserving of state protection; and b) would bar Georgia couples engaging in IVF treatment from donating spare embryos to science — in Georgia. Donating to other states would remain permissible.

    But you can expect one change in the stem cell bill. At a committee hearing this week, state Sen. Johnny Grant (R-Milledgeville) asked the following:

    “If the husband abandons this embryo, if the wife abandons the embryo, is this going to become a liability …

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