Michigan lawmakers stir controversy proposing State Universities to report stem-cell use

Apr 19, 2011   

The debate on stem cells continues to raise controversy and impact science and discovery. The latest twist involves Michigan state lawmakers who recently proposed requiring each state public university to report on stem cell use. Michigan has 15 state funded universities. Specifically, under the proposed bill, each university would report the following to the Director of the Michigan Department of Community Health by December 1, 2011:

(a) The number of human embryos and the number of human embryo stem cell lines received by the university during fiscal year 2010-2011.

(b) The number of human embryos utilized for research purposes during fiscal year 2010-2011.

(c) The number of human embryo stem cell lines created from the embryos received during fiscal year 2010-2011.

(d) The number of donated human embryos being held in storage by the university as of September 30, 2011.

(e) The number of research projects using human embryonic stem cells derived from donated embryos being conducted by the university.

The proposal is enmeshed in the states 2011-2012 Higher Education Budget bill, commonly referred to as its “template” or “place-holder,” under the section of University Operations. The appropriations bill, House Bill 4275, was introduced by State Representative Robert Genetski (R) on February 16, 2011 and passed along a party line vote by the Higher Education Subcommittee on April 13th, 2011. Enactment of the bill still requires approval from the House Appropriations Committee, the full legislature and the Governors signature.

The bill is seen as controversial, not necessarily for what is imposed, but the impact of such imposition. The state seems justified requiring its funded institutions to report activity such as stem cell research; however, the requirement may be an objectionable regulatory burden intended to impede the research and discovery process. Michigans State Constitution is one of the few that specifically address embryonic stem cell research outlining a number of requirements to conduct research on embryonic stem cells. Fuerst Ittleman continues to actively investigate the evolving regulatory framework involving stem cell therapies. Contact our attorneys by emailing us at contact@fidjlaw.com for information on stem cell law and regulation.

Thanks to David Jesse, Higher Education Reporter, Detroit Free Press for access to the proposed bill.