Lembke, Gross question money for incubators
By Allen Palmeri
April 18, 2006
JEFFERSON CITY – Rep. Jim Lembke, R-St. Louis, has been attacked by the clone lobby and their allies in the Capitol in Missouri for his role as chairman of the Missouri House Appropriations Committee. He chose to use his authority during the current budget process to block $38.5 million in taxpayer money from going toward research cloning.
Lembke has gotten used to being unpopular within his party because of his stance on embryonic stem cell research. Others are now following his lead in asking the tough questions about the so-called science that could turn into a constitutional right for Missourians come November if a simple majority votes for a proposed ballot initiative that may be decided then.
Sen. Chuck Gross, R-St. Charles and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has jumped into the fray over how the state should spend the money if Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) assets are sold. A Gross-sponsored Senate bill being considered would block spending money from the loan authority deal on facilities where research is conducted involving human cloning or early stem cells, the Kansas City Star reported.
“I believe that money was used in a line item for pharmaceuticals within the Medicaid bill,” Lembke said. “The way we interpret the language in the Life Science Trust Fund statute is that if both bodies with a majority vote choose to spend that money in a different fashion than for life sciences, then we can do so. I’ve communicated with our leadership that if we’re not assured that embryonic stem cell research won’t go on in any of these facilities that are going to be coming out of the MOHELA money, going and building business incubators and research facilities on our college campuses, they’ll have a fight on their hands. We’ll fight against it.”
Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and University of Missouri-Kansas City Chancellor Guy Bailey came to the Midwest Research Institute April 5 to look at a rendering of the bioscience incubator, the Star reported. It would be built on Midwest Research property with money UMKC would get if MOHELA assets are sold, the Star reported. UMKC is in line to get $15 million, with a total of $12 million of that going toward the life sciences incubator—a concept that pro-life advocates like Lembke are questioning.