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Politics & Government

Governor, lawmakers spar over stem cell mandate

University of Michigan
This microscope image (400x magnification) shows the 5-day-old embryo—also known as a blastocyst—that U-M Consortium for Stem Cell Therapies researchers used to create Michigan's first human embryonic stem cell line, UM4-6. Image courtesy of Gary Smith.

 Some legislators are squaring off with Governor Rick Snyder and public universities over embryonic stem cell research. The governor says his administration won’t enforce a budget clause that says researchers must produce detailed reports on their work, and how they go about it. The universities say the rules outlined in the budgets are meant to stifle and discourage embryonic stem research. 

Now, the Republican chair of the state House higher education budget subcommittee has a sent a letter to universities. State Representative Bob Genetski says he has the assurance of Attorney General Bill Schuette that he can ask for the information.

“The attorney general’s office seems pretty clear that we can ask for those reports and that we’re in the right," said Genetski. "I read the opinion. I was impressed that we were in the  right and, as I read the opinion, we have every right to ask them to generate the reports.”

A letter from the attorney general says it’s up to Genetski and other lawmakers to decide what do next if the universities don’t comply. Genetski says there could be budget consequences in the next fiscal year.

Governor Snyder says the letter makes clear the Legislature cannot force universities to produce the reports.

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