Cleveland Plain Dealer
October 20, 2005
Embryonic Stem-Cell Research Bill Stuck for Now
Julie Carr Smyth
Plain Dealer Bureau
A bill banning the use of public dollars on embryonic stem-cell
research lacks the votes to clear the Ohio House and is not likely to
resurface before the fall election.
House Speaker Jon Husted, a suburban Dayton Republican, said members of
his caucus, after "thoughtful discussion," had a host of concerns about
the bill -- criticized for being too broadly worded and hastily passed
out of committee.
"We probably had the kind of discussion last night that the people of
Ohio would want us to have," he said.
Among the issues raised, he said, was the ban's impact should science
develop a technique to extract stem cells from an embryo without doing
the fatal damage opposed by critics.
The Republican stalemate left the bill's fate in the hands of House
Democrats, whose leader said they won't offer any votes.
"We are united in our position. We spoke at length about allowing
scientific research to go forward in our state," said Minority Leader Chris
Redfern of Catawba Island.
"We won't place limitations on that type of research."
Husted said the essence of the ban proposed in the bill is already in
place under an executive order issued by Gov. Bob Taft, and disagreement
over funding of stem-cell research is distracting from the campaign for
the $2 billion "Jobs for Ohio" bond package.
Proponents of the bill, sponsored by Findlay Republican Rep. Mike Gilb,
wanted the ban enacted into law so that it would be assured beyond
Taft's term in office, which ends Dec. 31, 2006.
A coalition of Christian and right-to-life groups opposes the bond
package -- labeled Issue 1 -- because there is a risk some of the money
could go to limited embryonic stem-cell research still allowed under
In other business Wednesday, the House passed no-fault absentee voting
legislation without discussion and sent it to Taft. The same bill
engendered a four-hour debate in the Senate the day before.
Redfern said his caucus felt debate would have been unproductive. A
constitutional amendment allowing expanded absentee voting, without some
of the restrictions contained in the legislative alternative, is also on