Legislators in the US state of South Dakota have approved a bill that would ban all forms of human cloning in the state, in order to 'close loopholes' that exist in the law. The Health and Human Services Committee of the state House of Representatives passed bill SB184 by 12 votes to one. The bill defines cloning as 'reproduction caused by introducing a nucleus containing a complete genetic code into an egg', and adds to state legislation already in existence that prohibits research that 'harms' embryos. Anyone acting in violation of the new law will face up to two years in prison and a $2,000 fine, as well as civil penalties. The bill will now pass to the full House for consideration.
Republican Senator Jay Duenwald, in support of the bill, said that he thought human cloning was something South Dakota should 'stay out of at all costs' and that the legislation would stop any material involved in human cloning from entering the state. Democrat Bill Thompson, who was the only member of the committee to vote against the proposals, said that he agreed with some restrictions on human cloning but not all, adding that it was something best decided at a federal level.
Meanwhile, in the state of New Jersey, Governor James McGreevey has doubled his efforts to encourage stem cell researchers to relocate to the state. McGreevey, who recently signed into law a bill banning reproductive cloning but allowing the use of cloning technology for research into stem cell medicine, is keen to put New Jersey at the forefront of such research. 'By encouraging stem cell research, we will not only be providing an environment that will benefit the health of New Jersey's citizens but will also provide for increased investment in New Jersey's bio-medical industry and prestige for our research universities', he said. In his budget address this week, McGreevey is expected to announce that the state will provide $6.5 million in funding for a stem cell research institute, and $50 million over the next five years for research into human embryonic stem cells. This will make New Jersey the first US state to finance such research and, it is hoped, will help recruit a number of 'the best stem cell scientists in the world', according to Wise Young, chairman of cell biology at Rutgers University.
Sources and References
N.J. Set to Fund Stem Cell Research
Governor intensifies research advocacy
House panel endorses plan to ban human cloning