Healthcare Tips

Mass. Senate, House Approve Bill Allowing Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Banning Reproductive Human Cloning

May 20, 2017

The Massachusetts House and Senate this week approved slightly different versions of legislation that would allow human embryonic stem cell research in the state, including cloning for research purposes, but ban human cloning for the purpose of reproduction, the Boston Globe reports (Greenberger, Boston Globe, 4/1). The state House on Thursday approved 117-37 its version of the legislation, according to the Boston Herald (Donlan, Boston Herald, 4/1). The state Senate on Wednesday voted 35-2 to approve its version of the bill (SB 2028), the Globe reports (Greenberger, Boston Globe, 3/31). State lawmakers on Friday were expected to appoint a conference committee to "quickly hash out" the differences between the House and Senate versions of the legislation, the Herald reports (Boston Herald, 4/1). The two versions of the measure "differ on a few key issues," according to the AP/Worcester Telegram & Gazette (LeBlanc, AP/Worcester Telegram & Gazette, 3/31). The House version proposes a "stronger role" for the state Department of Public Health to regulate stem cell research, whereas the Senate version would limit the department's powers, the Globe reports (Boston Globe, 4/1). If the committee reconciles the differences and approves a final version, the bill is expected to go to Gov. Mitt Romney (R) "in a few days," according to the New York Times (Belluck, New York Times, 4/1).

Because both versions of the bill endorse human cloning for research purposes, Romney likely will veto any bill that emerges from the House-Senate committee, the Globe reports (Boston Globe, 4/1). Romney spokesperson Shawn Fedderman reiterated that the governor "will not sign into law a bill that permits the cloning of human embryos for research" (LeBlanc, AP/Yahoo! News, 3/31). Romney spokesperson Eric Fehrnstrom said that Romney hopes that the conference committee will be unable to agree on a final version of the bill, according to the Times (New York Times, 4/1). Despite an expected gubernatorial veto, the bill likely will become law because both legislative chambers passed the bill with the necessary two-thirds of the vote needed to override a veto, according to the Globe (Boston Globe, 4/1).

Boston Globe Examines Stem Cell Research
The Boston Globe on Thursday examined the "relatively obscure" science of stem cell research and the recent politics surrounding debate about the research (Cook, Boston Globe, 3/31). The complete article is available online.

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