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When Republicans voiced their disapproval of the
governor's stealth funding of stem cell research last year, we were
voicing our dissent for the process, as well as the issue. This is
not a matter of the governor pulling a fast one on senators -- he
also pulled a fast one on the Illinois citizens we are elected to
represent, many of whom do not support state funding for embryonic
stem cell research.
It is important to note that not one Republican in the Senate or
the House of Representatives voted for the budget, because it
overspends, raids pensions and defers bills for future generations.
As to the process -- the governor's decision was done in secret
with no public hearings. Previous public attempts to pass funding
for stem cell research were overwhelmingly rejected by lawmakers.
But just a few months later, the governor went around elected
lawmakers and used a vaguely worded appropriations line to set up a
stem cell research program. Such actions were sneaky, and it was
wrong to not let lawmakers know what was in the budget. And believe
me, we asked questions, but were not given all the facts.
[to top of second column in this letter]
Despite the fact that legislators had only a few hours to look
over the 829-page budget before debate began, we asked questions.
Despite the fact that each senator was limited to two minutes of
discussion, and despite the fact that the total debate for the $56.9
billion budget was less than 57 minutes, we asked for explanations.
The fact is we were not given specific answers, being told instead
that the lump sums were discretionary spending.
As to the issue -- the governor should not be using tax dollars
for something that many people have a strong moral objection to,
such as embryonic stem cell research. I do in fact support adult
stem cell research, and if the governor wants to use taxpayer
dollars for research, it would be best to fund adult stem cell
research, which has resulted in successful treatments for 65
diseases or health conditions, while embryonic stem cell research
has resulted in successful treatments for none!
Lawmakers represent the people. Bypassing members of the Senate
and House is essentially bypassing the people.
State Senate, 44th District
(Posted March 31, 2006)
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