Sen. Ogden adds to shunning of science in Texas

Posted in Around The State, Bad Government Republicans, Commentary, Right Wing Lies, The Budget, The Lege, Uncategorized at 10:22 pm by wcnews

GOP state Senator Steve Ogden, who represents District 5 which includes Williamson County, inserted a Surprise stem cell rider [that] could derail budget, today.

Steve Ogden may have lost support of Senate Democrats for SB 1 with his surprise rider prohibiting state funds to be used in stem cell research, or as the rider states: ”in conjunction with or to support research that involves the destruction of a human embryo.”

The rider was added Monday with little debate, on a 6-5 vote, with several members absent from the committee.

Judith Zaffirini tells us that “there are some members so upset there has been discussion of blocking the appropriations bill if this rider remains in it.” Zaffirini believes that such an important statement of public policy deserves a full hearing so the Legislature could hear from scientists whose research would be impacted

The AAS had this to day, Stem-cell research advocates see Senate budget language as a threat.

The Ogden provision says, “no funds appropriated under this act shall be used in conjunction with or to support research which involves the destruction of a human embryo.”

Ogden said he does not know of any such research that is now being paid for with state funds.

“I would expect that because of the changes that have recently been made at the federal level, that institutions in the State of Texas may be considering trying to get those funds,” Ogden said. “So we wanted to say that none of the monies in this state appropriations bill can be used for that purpose. It was basically to make a statement where the bill has always been silent.”

Ogden said the intention of the budget provision is not to bar all facilities receiving state funds from conducting embryonic stem-cell research, even though some fear it will do just that. He said he has authored separate legislation that would enact such a ban, and he plans to bring it up in the Finance Committee for a vote.

Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, said he will fight the Ogden provision, saying it would “effectively bar some of Texas’ top researchers from the state’s universities and laboratories, where most of this work in the state is currently taking place.”

“It drives away some of our best and brightest people even as we struggle to attract more like them,” Watson said. “And it would all but guarantee that cures for our stricken neighbors and loved ones won’t be discovered in Texas — if they’re discovered at all.”

That it could possibly torpedo the cancer research so many fought for last session makes this even worse. Add this to the upcoming science curriculum debate at the State Board of Education and we might as well put a no scientists allowed sign at the border. Thanks Sen. Ogden. Evan Smith, Editor in Chief of Texas Monthly, has this to say about Ogden’s little “budget” trick, Shame on Steve Ogden.

Here’s what we should do. We should force Ogden to advocate for this out in the open. He can have an up or down vote on it and it alone. If the votes are there, he’ll pass it. If not, he’ll drop it. No secret riders. No chickenshit games. Okay?

This is surprising from Ogden who often times seems to be one of the less ideological in the Texas GOP. If this is such a good idea, and the votes are there, why wouldn’t Ogden want to debate this out in the open? It would likely shine more light on the positions of the Texas GOP they’d rather the voters not see.

[UPDATE]: AAS has it’s article in for Wednesday up, Senate proposal could limit embryonic stem cell research. In it Ogden appears to be walking this back, and it looks to be headed for a showdown vote.

The Finance Committee is expected to vote on the budget next week, sending it to the full Senate for consideration. House budget negotiators would also have to sign on before the language made it into the final state budget.

“This provision must be removed from the budget, and there will be opportunities to do so in coming months,” said Watson, who is not a member of the Finance Committee.

Meanwhile, Ogden said he plans to ask the finance panel to consider his proposal to ban embryonic stem cell research in facilities owned or run by the state.

“It’s going to be hard to pass,” Ogden said, “but that doesn’t mean I won’t try.”

1 Comment »

  1. gregry17 said,

    March 25, 2009 at 6:19 am

    Saint Augustine of Hippo, an influential theologian in the Christian Church, argued in the early 400s that God alone could suspend the normal laws of the universe. In his view, neither Satan nor witches had supernatural powers or were capable of effectively invoking magic of any sort. It was the “error of the pagans” to believe in “some other divine power than the one God.” Of course, if witches are indeed powerless, the Church need not overly concern itself with their spells or other attempts at mischief.
    I feel that Senator Ogden must have fallen into the trap of seeing himself as a defender of the faith when, in truth, he reveals himself as a pagan coward, standing boldly in the path of human progress. Shame on him.

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