On May 12, 2006, the Alameda Superior Court, Judge Bonnie Sabraw presiding, entered judgment in the litigation challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 71, which created California’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
Life Legal Defense Foundation represented two taxpayer groups in the case, Plaintiffs People’s Advocate and the National Tax Limitation Foundation, who challenged the constitutionality of the Act created by Proposition 71 on the basis that the Independent Citizen’s Oversight Committee, also created in the Act, is an entity not under the exclusive management and control of the state. The plaintiffs alleged that the Act did not contain sufficient state controls with regard to the spending of $3 billion in general obligation bonds by the ICOC, thereby placing the ICOC outside state management and control as required by the state constitution. Plaintiffs’ position is unchanged and they plan to appeal the Court’s decision. The question remains, from whom is the ICOC independent? (1)
In April, the trial court first issued its Proposed Statement of Decision, and court procedure allows the parties to the case the opportunity to recommend changes to the court’s proposed decision. LLDF did so by filing a Proposal for Statement of Decision on behalf of People’s Advocate and the National Tax Limitation Foundation. (2) Even though the trial court’s ultimate judgment was much like its earlier Proposed Statement of Decision, LLDF has maintained that this case will finally be decided either on appeal or in the California Supreme Court. Consequently, Plaintiffs’ Notice of Appeal was filed on June 12, 2006.
On June 26, the plaintiffs filed a new action, National Tax Limitation Foundation v. Westly, challenging the award of training grants to eight University of California campuses. Because the judge in the main action was unwilling to consider evidence of specific wrongdoing on the part of the ICOC, plaintiffs filed this as a separate taxpayer suit, calling for the return of monies awarded to U.C. campuses in violation of the ICOC’s own conflict of interest polices. In the meantime, the proponents of embryonic stem cell research have been very busy with their campaign. A coalition of embryonic stem cell proponents has been formed to campaign for stem cell research nationwide. Additionally, the State of Connecticut is now funding embryonic stem cell research. In an article related this this one [p. 3], Jennifer Lahl, Executive Director of the Center for Bioethics and Culture kindly agreed to give us her perspective on the issue of embryonic stem cell research and its future, focusing on the attempts to have the State of Missouri fund such research.
1. The Court’s decision can be read in its entirety via the Alameda County Court web site at www. alameda.courts.ca.gov. The case number is HG05 206766.
2. LLDF’s Proposal for Statement of Decision is posted on our web site, www.lldf.org.