A measure that would gut the stem cell measure approved by voters in November has gotten new life at the Capitol.
Members of the House Health Policy Committee have been deadlocked 5-to-5 on the issue, but when an opponent didn’t make a Monday meeting, Chairman Wayne Cooper (R-Camdenton) took advantage, called for a vote and passed the proposed constitutional amendment out. It is a nice turn-of-events for sponsor James Lembke (R-St. Louis), who realizes other obstacles remain. Lembke says those who want to see HJR 11 move forward in the legislative process now need to apply pressure to the House Rules Committee, which will determine if the resolution takes another step toward possible House floor debate. Lembke also suggests that pressure be applied to House Speaker Rod Jetton (R-Marble Hill) to keep the measure moving through the legislative process.
Rep. Rob Schaaf (R-St. Joseph), a committee member opposed to HJR 11 , criticizes Cooper’s move, not just for taking advantage of the absence, but for cutting off any debate on the measure. Schaaf says the measure is extremely important measure for the people of Missouri, yet members of the Health Policy Committee weren’t allowed to debate it at all.
The constitutional amendment approved by voters in November prohibits the legislature from enacting regulations on stem cell research more stringent that that imposed by the federal government. HJR 11 effectively overturns the November stem cell vote. If the legislature approves the resolution, it goes to a vote of the people.