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Senate floor-a-palooza; stem cells in House

Posted at 3:32 PM on May 7, 2008 by Michael Marchio

Lately the Commish has been giving more attention to the House than the Senate. What can I say, Representatives love floor-a-paloozas and floor-a-paloozas love them.

Today, though, we're going to give the Senate their long-promised floor-a-palooza. On Monday, the House had one for the omnibus tax bill, and the Senate's taking it up right now, so its only fair we give them a chance to earn their teams some points. Sen. Tom Bakk (DFL-Vermilion), the tax czar in the Senate, just offered his amendment to replace all the House language for HF3149 with the Senate language, so the bills are, as of right now, a lot different. Still, taxes are something I feel a few of them will want to chime in on, so lets see it lawmakers. (I shouldn't have to bribe them, but if any mention their power ranking or otherwise talk up the MFL, the Commish may give out bonus points).

Over in the House, Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Minneapolis) is carrying the stem cell policy bill, SF100. She has a Ph.D in Biophysics, and she's dropping knowledge on the chamber. So far, its been mostly Republicans asking questions and offering amendments to the bill. One, offered by Rep. Matt Dean (R-Dellwood) would have allowed only work on adult stem cells, not the embryonic kind that many opponents liken to abortion. Rep. Kahn's bill would allow the state to appropriate funds for the research, something that must be done with private money under current law.

The bill also bans the sale of fetal tissue and of "human cloning".

Rep. Dan Severson offered one that requires the Attorney General to give a legal opinion on whether embryonic stem cell research is even legal, because, he argued, a scientist told him that the embryos are alive when the research is conducted.

The bill passed by a surprisingly close 71-62 vote. Last year, the governor told the Minnesota Family Council that "I do not support wide open embryonic stem cell research," which is more or less what Rep. Kahn's bill would do. We'll see if he inks this one up with a big veto.