BILL NUMBER: S1502
TITLE OF BILL :
An act to amend the public health law, in relation to the duties of
the ethics committee of the empire state stem cell board
To amend New York State Public Health Law, Article 2, Title 5-A,
establishing the Empire State Stem Cell Board, to ensure that the
ethics committee established in the statute is given authority to
establish ethical standards for grant awards and for all medical,
socioeconomic, and financial aspects of clinical trials and therapy
delivery to patients, and to exercise oversight of the funded stem
cell research projects across the state.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS :
Amends subdivision 2 of section 265-c of the public health law by
providing clarification of the responsibilities of the New York State
Stem Cell Ethics Committee.
The ethics committee of the Empire State Stem Cell Bond is statutorily
changed with making "recommendations to the funding committee
regarding scientific, medical, and ethical standards" for stem cell
research projects to be funded by the state. Created in the state
budget in 2007, the ethics committee first met to deliberate in late
fall of the same year (November 30, 2007), only after the funding
committee had already approved a request for applications for research
The ethics committee unanimously recommended a 6-month moratorium on
funding controversial research - the creation of new human embryonic
stem cell lines, the creation of human-animal hybrids, human cloning
for research, etc. - so that the committee could discuss, debate and
decide the ethics as they were charged to do. Two weeks later, in
mid-December, the funding committee rejected this call for a temporary
moratorium, and in the first week of January 2008, the first round of
stem cell research grants were awarded.
The Empire State Stem Cell Board, in haste to move research forward,
has ignored the advice of its own ethics committee and given that body
little to no time to do the serious contemplative work it has the
responsibility to do under law. Ethics committee members, like New
York's citizens, hold diverse views on controversial aspects of stem
cell research. The citizenry deserves careful, detailed, honest
ethical review of how $600 million in taxpayer money will be spent in
the field of regenerative medicine.
The role of the ethics committee should not be merely advisory. Each
and every application for funding must adhere to the ethical standards
established by the ethics committee and the ethics committee must be
given oversight authority to ensure compliance. This legislation
would accomplish that objective.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :
S.8401/A.11611 of 2008
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS :
EFFECTIVE DATE :
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