A judge in Jefferson City has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a group known as the Missouri Roundtable for Life which is attempting to prevent taxpayer dollars from being spent on certain forms of stem cell research.
In essence, Cole County Circuit Judge Richard Callahan has issued what attorney Steve Clark, one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs, calls a procedural ruling. "The judge avoided getting to the merits of these issues," says Clark. "Avoided ruling on the true issues in the case, by saying that there is no controversy between the taxpayers that filed the suit – the Missouri Roundtable for Life and Fred Sauer – and the Life Sciences Research Trust Board and the State Treasurer."
At issue is a $21-million payment to the Board, which distributes the money as it sees fit. Part of what the plaintiffs argue is money could be spent on forms of research protected under Amendment 2 – the so-called stem cell research amendment of 2006. Much of that research is believed by opponents to be tantamount to human cloning.
An appeal is being launched. Clark says another option for the plaintiffs is to launch legal action against any party that receives any of this taxpayer money.