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2008 State of the States

Posted Aug 25 2008 3:17pm
For folks looking for a good primer on the "state of the states", Stateline.org has published their State of the States 2008 pamphlet. In this, they discuss subjects as broad as the various states both funding and banning human embryonic stem cell research , as well as state abortion laws , Romeo and Juliet laws, campus security, same sex marriage laws, and more. It's 75 pages of data, graphs, and trends - well worth reading for anyone interested in health care, policy, and federalism.



Of particular interest to me was Christine Vestal's analysis of states attempting to attract prominent stem cell researchers to grow their hESC research facilities into world class research labs. Once the fear was federal stem cell research laws would create a brain drain of science talent, as American scientists picked up and moved to countries more open to doing hESC. Now, the concern is the state next door, as California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Wisconsin have awarded nearly $250 million in grants, which is three times more than the federal government spent in the same time frame.



While some states consider how to keep up with the funding next door (Iowa, Massachusetts and Missouri), others have simply bowed out of the stem cell race (Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, North Dakota and South Dakota).



The State of the States 2008 document appears to be a great resource, full of interesting information. For example, did you know that 100 bills both for and against hESC research were considered in 39 states, but only three laws actually enacted? (New York State approved its hESC research funding, Iowa repealed a ban, and Illinois confirmed an executive order.)



While the ethics of the research are briefly mentioned (and Jonathan Moreno is quoted, albeit in another section of the article), overall they are given rather short shrift. That flaw aside, however, this appears to be a valuable addition to any researchers stack of pdfs.

-Kelly
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