Friday, March 23, 2012

Michigan legislators push U-M to follow the law, report embryonic stem cell information

When Michigan legislators finalized the budget, they included legislation which requires Michigan's universities to supply the legislature with basic information and numbers related to their human embryonic stem cell research including the number of human embryos and human stem-cell lines received in the current fiscal year, the number of human embryos used for research and the number of human embryos held in storage, the number of human embryonic stem-cell lines created and the number of research projects under way.

The University of Michigan decided not to comply with this simple request and instead of submitting this simple set of numbers, produced 50-60 pages of press releases and news articles. This has led to a response from some of Michigan's legislators.

A battle is heating up between a Republican-led state House panel and the University of Michigan over whether U-M must disclose its number of embryonic stem-cell lines.....

This time, Republicans on the subcommittee are upset with what they call U-M's "thumbing of their nose" at requests for information about embryonic stem cells. Several lawmakers said that if they don't get the information -- required under language passed in last year's budget -- they'll look at docking U-M's state aid.....

The subcommittee is demanding to know the number of embryonic stem-cell lines and four related numbers at U-M. In a private meeting earlier this year, the chairman of the subcommittee told U-M officials they could lose state funding if they don't give those details.

U-M didn't give legislators the numbers, and now several committee members say they want to dock some of its state aid for flaunting the Legislature.