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Photo courtesy of California Institute for Regenerative Medicine
Election 2020

California Elections 2020: Proposition 14 - Stem Cell Research

What Would the Ballot Measure Issue Bonds For?

The ballot initiative would issue $5.5 billion in general obligation bonds for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), which was created to fund stem cell research. In 2004, voters approved Proposition 71, which created CIRM, issued $3.00 billion in bonds to finance CIRM, and established a state constitutional right to conduct stem cell research.[1]

As of October 2019, CIRM had $132 million in funds remaining.[2] On July 1, 2019, CIRM suspended applications for new projects due to depleted funds.[3]

The ballot initiative would require CIRM to spend no more than 7.5 percent of the bond funds on operation costs. The remaining bond funds would be spent on grants to entities that conduct research, trials, and programs related to stem cells, as well as start-up costs for facilities. Some of the bond funds would be dedicated, including $1.5 billion for research on therapies and treatments for brain and nervous system diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and dementia. Upwards of 1.5 percent of the total funds would be spent on Community Care Centers of Excellence (CCCE), which would be sites that conduct human clinical trials, treatments, and cures. Upwards of 0.5 percent of the total funds would be spent on the Shared Labs Program (SLP), which are state-funded facilities dedicated to research on human embryonic stem cells.[1]

What Changes Would the Ballot Measure Make to CIRM?

An Independent Citizen’s Oversight Committee (ICOC) is responsible for governing CIRM. Proposition 71 provided that the ICOC has 29 members with specific background requirements. The ballot initiative would increase the number of members from 29 to 35. CIRM has three working groups that advise the ICOC, one each for medical research funding, research standards, and facilities grants. The ballot initiative would create a fourth working group, which would focus on improving access to treatments and cures. The ballot initiative would also cap the number of bond-funded, full-time CIRM employees at 70 (plus an additional 15 dedicated to improving access to stem cell-derived therapies and treatments). The ballot initiative would establish training programs for undergraduate students and fellowships for graduate students related to advanced degrees and technical careers in stem cell research, treatments, and cures.[1]

Who is Behind the Campaigns Surrounding the Ballot Initiative?

Californians for Stem Cell Research, Treatments & Cures, a political action committee, is leading the campaign in support of the ballot initiative. The campaign had received $6.58 million. Robert N. Klein II, a real estate investor and stem-cell research advocate, was the largest donor, contributing $4.63 million. Klein is also the chairman of Californians for Stem Cell Research, Treatments & Cures. He was the first chairperson of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, chief author of Proposition 71 (2004), and leader of the campaign behind Proposition 71.

What are the Official Ballot Arguments for Proposition 14?

Prop. 14 provides continued funding to develop treatments, advance clinical trials and achieve new scientific break throughs for California’s patients with Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Disease,Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, HIV/AIDS, ALS, MS, Sickle CellDisease, Lung Diseases, Kidney Disease, Bubble Baby Disease,Age-Related Blindness and Genetic Blindness, Epilepsy,Stroke, Schizophrenia, Autism, other Mental Health and BrainConditions, and Infectious Diseases like COVID-19.

Dedicates“The Treatment and Cures Accessibility and AffordabilityWorking Group” experts to dramatically expand access to clinical trials and new therapies, make treatments and cures more affordable for Californians, and provide patients, their families, and caregivers with financial assistance.

See the rest of the arguments in favor of Proposition 14 here.

What are the Official Ballot Arguments Against Proposition 14?

In the middle of an economic crisis, with soaring unemployment and budget shortfalls in the tens of billions of dollars, we don’t have money to burn.We simply cannot afford the $5 billion that proponents ofProp. 14 are asking for.

The National Institute of Health provides $1.5 billion a year ing rants to fund the same type of research.Private investors and companies, including many in California, have made great strides in using stem cells to cure diseases—using private funds, not tax dollars.

See the rest of the arguments against Proposition 14 here.

Official Websites for Proposition 14

Visit the official website for Yes on Proposition 14 here: not found

Visit the Official Website for No on Proposition 14 here: not found

Who is Funding Proposition 14

The Californians for Stem Cell Research, Treatments & Cures PAC was registered to support the ballot initiative. The committee had raised $6.57 million. Robert N. Klein II and Klein Financial Corporation provided $4.63 million to the PAC. The committee had expended $8.72 million (expenditures exceeded contributions due to accrued expenses).

What is Proposition 14?

If approved, Proposition 14 will authorize $5.5 billion in state general obligation bonds to fund grants from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine. The grants will be used for stem cell research, stem cell therapy and administrative expenses, among other areas. The Legislative Analyst's Office estimates the total estimated cost, which includes interest, will be $7.8 billion. 

Who is Supporting Proposition 14?

Antoni Ribas, president of the American Association for Cancer Research 

Cynthia Muñoz, president of the American Diabetes Association in Los Angeles 

Robert Harrington, chairman of the Department of Medicine at Stanford University

Who is Opposing Proposition 14?

Vincent Fortanasce, M.D.

Patrick James Baggot, M.D. 

For more information, go to ballotpedia.org

Have an opinion on this ballot measure? Share your thoughts in a written or video commentary! Email it to [email protected]

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IVN San Diego Staff

IVN San Diego Staff

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