TRENTON – The full Senate gave the green light to bill S-1091 today, authorizing the state to seek voter approval to fund $230 million in grants to support long-term stem cell research. The legislation, sponsored by Senator Barbara Buono, D-Middlesex, passed the Senate by a vote of 26-9.
“This is an investment in the future of New Jersey,” said Sen. Buono, D-Middlesex. “The return we’ll see will not just be in terms of dollars and jobs, but in lives saved and families healed. There is no better time than now to throw our support behind the promise of stem cell research.”
Under the legislation, voters in the November election would be asked to approve a $230 million bond referendum to fund stem cell research grants. The grants would be distributed over seven years. Eligible applicants would include for-profit and non-profit agencies with the requirement that for-profit groups collaborate and partner with non-profit organizations.
“There has been strong public support in New Jersey for stem cell research and the cures that we expect it can provide. I hope that support continues through November when the voters go to the polls,” added Senator Buono.
To ensure grants are awarded based on science, not politics, the NJ Commission on Science and Technology would establish a research review panel and an ethics advisory panel to thoroughly review all applications and award grants. The ethics advisory panel will be responsible for ensuring state-funded research complies with state ethics guidelines, including the prohibition of human cloning. The referendum would also call for the state to receive a portion of the royalties realized from any break-through research.
Earlier this month, the Senate approved another bill sponsored by Sen. Buono that would allocate $250 million to fund the infrastructure needed to support cutting-edge research, including a world-class stem cell institute in New Brunswick and two other collaborative facilities in Camden and Newark. The bill approved today would provide eligible applicants with the long-term funding needed to support stem cell research projects that could potentially yield significant medical breakthroughs.