The Louisiana House of Representatives has passed legislation that would ban all forms of human cloning in the state. The members of the House voted 75-23 against the bill, while also defeating a competing bill by 54-45 votes. The competing bill would have banned human reproductive cloning only, but allowed embryos to be cloned for medical research purposes.
Both of the bills provided for a prison sentence of up to 10 years for anyone breaching the cloning provisions, as well as up to a $10 million dollar fine. The defeated bill would, however, have created a commission that would have kept all embryonic stem cell (ES cell) research projects under review and produced an annual report. The bill that was passed (HB 492) will now go to the state Senate, where it is expected to have strong support.
Meanwhile, debate continues on an ES cell research bill in the state of Illinois. One state legislator wants to amend the bill to remove a provision that places a tax on cosmetic surgery to raise $1 billion of funds to pay for the research in the state. Republican Tom Cross said that removing the provision would prevent public funds being used for ES cell research in the state. 'People don't like tax - and a lot of people just have a problem with stem cell research', he said, adding 'the combination of the two make it very difficult to pass'. Without the tax provision, the bill would still encourage ES cell research, just would not provide state funding for it - leaving such research to be privately funded.