Has then California stem cell agency finally learned the value of good relations with the State Legislature? Maybe so.
Back in 2006 then Senate Heath Committee Chairman Deborah Ortiz offered SB 401 aimed at fixing some of the agency's governance problems and seeking to ensure affordable access for Californians to the fruits of the stem cell research they're paying $6 billion for.
The stem cell oversight committee passed a resolution opposing SB 401. And Chairman Bob Klein railed against Ortiz. About to be termed out of office, she was seeking the Democratic nomination for Secretary of State.
On the eve of the primary election Klein fired off a letter to patient advocates charging that Ortiz was on an "anti-research crusade."
This year current Health Committee Chairman Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-23) and Sen. George Runner (R-17) have introduced their version of stem cell agency oversight legislation, SB 1565.
I testified in support of the measure in Sacramento on Wednesday before it was approved unanimously by the Health Committee. Donna Gerber of the California Nurses Association also spoke in favor. It moves next to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Instead of the food fight between Klein and Ortiz, this year's stem cell agency response is far more temperate. The agency's Interim Legislative Director, Sue North, told the Health Committee, "We have no formal position on the bill and hope to resolve any differences administratively."
It's about time the stem cell agency leadership cooled off, acted like adults and realized the Legislature has a legitimate role to play.