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The Missouri House voted overwhelmingly to ban monies obtained from selling MOHELA assets from going to early stem cell research. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports from Jefferson City.
Lawmakers approved the amendment by a vote of 111 to 43.
The amendment would prevent proceeds from the sale of assets from the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority from being used to fund abortions and certain stem cell research.
Last Friday, lawmakers failed to approve legislation that would have appropriated proceeds from the sale of MOHELA assets...But Governor Matt Blunt has indicated he will pursue other options for transferring the money directly to universities for capitol projects...Many of those building projects are for life sciences facilities.
Democratic Representative Rachel Bringer of Northeast Missouri offered the amendment.
She says if her proposal becomes law, it would prevent early stem cell research from being performed in the buildings constructed with MOHELA funds.
Opponents of Bringer's amendment say it becomes irrelevant if voters approve a constitutional amendment on the November ballot to allow early stem cell research.
Republican Representative Bob Johnson of the Kansas City area opposes limits on early stem cell research.
He says beyond that, lawmakers should wait and see how voters decide the issue this fall.
The question of whether or not early stem cell research could be performed in buildings funded by MOHELA proceeds may be moot.
In a letter to lawmakers and the governor, the MOHELA board has indicated it has received advice from attorneys that it will need statutory authority to proceed with selling some of MOHELA's assets.
But House Speaker Rod Jetton said last week it's unlikely lawmakers will pass legislation authorizing MOHELA to move forward with the sale.
The legislative session ends on Friday.