October 13, 2005

Calif. court taking up motion to toss stem cell bonds

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A California judge overseeing a
lawsuit to prevent the state from issuing up to $3 billion in
bonds for its stem cell research institute has scheduled a
hearing on November 17 on a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, a
spokesman for the state's lawyer said on Thursday.

The motion by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer aims
to free the state to issue the voter-approved general
obligation bonds, which could total $3 billion over 10 years,
said Lockyer spokesman Nathan Barankin.

The debt would fund studies into using human stem cells for
therapies or cures to various illnesses and ailments, an
initiative backed by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

His support for the work, which may include using stem
cells from human embryos, is at odds with U.S. President George
W. Bush's restrictive approach to the research.

Legal challenges to the debt sales for the California
Institute for Regenerative Medicine have "effectively prevented
the state from marketing the bonds," according to Lockyer's
motion filed in Alameda County Superior Court.

The plaintiffs challenging the stem-cell institute argue
its governing committee does not meet state constitutional
requirements to be involved in selling state bonds.