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Court challenges stem cell research program

The state's voter-approved stem cell research program is being challenged in a Northern California court. Two taxpayer groups are trying to invalidate Prop 71, the measure that created an agency to hand out billions of dollars in state-funded research grants. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.

The lawsuits say California's constitution requires that taxpayer money be under state control. The suits allege the agency overseeing the stem cell research program is unaccountable to the public.

John Simpson is with the non-profit Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights. His group is not involved with the lawsuits. Even so, Simpson says the stem cell agency must make sure it has proper ethical guidelines and protects the public's access to potential cures.

Simpson: Not only for California but because we're in some sense setting a model for the rest of the country. And I think it's important that we get it right.

Prop 71 was approved in 2004, but legal challenges have prevented any stem cell research grants from being awarded.
Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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