California Governor Gray Davis signed into law Sunday a bill that gives the green light to human embryonic stem cell research in the state. On the same day, Davis signed a complementary bill prohibiting reproductive cloning.
The stem cell bill, which was passed by the state legislature along mostly partisan lines (receiving only one Republican vote), establishes a framework for overseeing stem cell research. It also requires that physicians who perform in vitro fertilization (IVF) offer patients the option of donating unwanted embryos to stem cell research.
California's law is the first state legislation in the nation to directly address stem cell research. While it does not appropriate any monies, state funds will be available through a variety of programs that add up to $25 million, according to Suzanne Huttner, Associate Vice Provost for Research in the University of California (UC) Office of the President.
Federal restrictions imposed in...