On Monday, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced that a ballot measure to refund California’s stem cell agency received enough signatures and would be placed on the November 2020 ballot.
The measure, if passed, would refund the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) with a $5.5 billion bond to continue with stem cell research, facility construction, and training. According to the press release, much of the funding would specifically go towards research for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, epilepsy, and other brain and other central nervous system diseases and conditions.
With 685,534 signatures, 110% of the needed amount, Secretary Padilla can now officially announce the ballot placement once random sampling validates the required amount.
Stem cell research has remained controversial due the use of stem cells from human embryos, or embryonic stem cells. Federal funding for stem cell research was removed by former President George W. Bush in the 2000’s, with his successor Barack Obama bringing research back in the 2010’s. Despite the controversy, California created its own stem cell research institute after the passage of Proposition 71 in 2004, setting up CIRM. While still controversial, CIRM’s immediate need of more funding , compounded by research quickly reducing the need to embryonic stem cells and advances in stem cell treatments for many older patients