Cook County Circuit Court dismisses
complaint against Gov. Blagojevich's stem cell research efforts
upholds governor's authority to create Illinois Regenerative
Medicine Institute and to designate funds for research grants
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[MAY 12, 2006]
CHICAGO -- On Wednesday, a Cook County Circuit
Court judge dismissed a lawsuit challenging Gov. Rod R.
Blagojevich's authority to create a program that provides public
funding for stem cell research in Illinois. Judge James F. Henry
ruled that it was within the governor's authority to issue an
executive order establishing the Illinois Regenerative Medicine
Institute and earmarking $10 million in public research funds for
stem cell research grants.
"We're pleased with the court's
decision upholding my authority to create the institute and move
forward with a program that has the potential to help countless
individuals and families," Blagojevich said. "Stem cell research is
considered by the medical and scientific community to offer some of
the greatest hope for finding cures and treatments for debilitating
and life-threatening conditions. That's why I used my executive
authority to move our state forward in fostering this kind of
"Today's court action further solidifies and validates public
funding of stem cell research in Illinois, and for that I am very
pleased," said Comptroller Dan Hynes. "No doubt the medical research
institutions that received grants from the institute are thrilled as
well. Now they can get down to the business of fulfilling the
promise for cures that stem cell research represents."
Researching and studying stem cells allows scientists and doctors
to better understand what causes serious medical illnesses and
conditions such as Alzheimer's, diabetes, spinal cord injury, stroke
and heart disease, in hopes of discovering new ways to treat or even
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Last summer, by executive order, Blagojevich and Hynes created
the Illinois Regenerative Medicine Institute, making Illinois the
first state in the Midwest, and only the fourth state in the nation,
to commit public funds to stem cell research.
Last month, the governor, comptroller and the Department of Public
Health announced 10 grants worth a total of $10 million for the
lifesaving work of stem cell research at several Illinois hospitals
and research institutions.
In early April, Richard P. Caro filed a lawsuit in the Circuit
Court of Cook County, claiming that the governor had exceeded his
authority by creating the institute and designating funds for stem
cell research. An amended complaint filed by Caro claimed that the
Illinois Department of Public Health didn't have the authority to
issue grants without going through the formal rule-making process.
The court dismissed the amended complaint Wednesday, noting that
there were enough protections in place to ensure that the funds were
being used for the purpose of stem cell research.
[News release from the governor's