H                                                                                                                                                    1






Short Title:     Stem Cell Research Health & Wellness Act.



Representatives Jones, Gulley, Farmer-Butterfield, Alexander (Primary Sponsors);  Carney, Glazier, Goodwin, Harrison, and Saunders.

Referred to:

Science and Technology, if favorable, Appropriations.

April 19, 2007


AN ACt to enact the stem cell research health and wellness act to permit stem cell research under limited circumstances and to appropriate funds to the hEalth and wellness trust fund for allocation as stem cell research grants.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

Whereas, an estimated 128 million Americans suffer from the crippling economic and psychological burden of chronic, degenerative, and acute diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, cancer, diabetes, and Parkinson's disease; and

Whereas, the costs of treating, and lost productivity from, chronic, degenerative, and acute diseases in the United States constitutes hundreds of billions of dollars annually. Estimates on the economic costs of these diseases do not account for the extreme human loss and suffering associated with these conditions; and

Whereas, human stem cell research offers immense promise for developing new medical therapies for these debilitating diseases and a critical means to explore fundamental questions of biology. Stem cell research could lead to unprecedented treatments and potential cures for Alzheimer's disease, cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and other diseases; and

Whereas, stem cell research, including the use of embryonic stem cells for medical research, raises significant ethical and public policy concerns; and

Whereas, the ethical and policy concerns associated with stem cell research must be carefully considered; and

Whereas, the public policy of this State governing stem cell research must balance ethical and medical considerations based upon both an understanding of the science associated with stem cell research and a thorough consideration of the ethical concerns regarding this research; and

Whereas, the Congress of the United States passed the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005, which was vetoed by the President and not overridden by Congress; and

Whereas, the Congress of the United States is considering a bill providing for human embryonic stem cell research; Now, therefore,

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1.  Article 16 of Chapter 130A of the General Statutes is amended by adding the following new Part to read:

"Part 4A. Stem Cell Research Health and Wellness Act.

" 130A-413.1. Public policy relative to derivation, use of certain cells of humans.

(a)       It is the public policy of this State that research involving the use of human embryonic stem cells may be conducted in accordance with this section:

(1)       The stem cells were derived from human embryos that have been donated from in vitro fertilization clinics, were created for the purposes of fertility treatment, and were in excess of the clinical need of the individuals seeking such treatment.

(2)       Prior to the consideration of embryo donation and through consultation with the individuals seeking fertility treatment, it was determined that the embryos would never be implanted in a woman and would otherwise be discarded.

(3)       The individuals seeking fertility treatment donated the embryos with the written informed consent and without receiving any financial or other inducements to make the donation.

(b)       Not later than 60 days after the date this act becomes law, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall issue guidelines to carry out this section.

(c)       The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall submit an annual report to the General Assembly upon its convening, the House of Representative Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, and the Senate Appropriations Committee on Health and Human Services. The report shall describe activities carried out under this section during the preceding fiscal year, including a description of whether and to what extent research under subsection (a) of this section has been conducted in accordance with this section."

SECTION 2.  There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Health and Wellness Trust Fund the sum of ten million dollars ($10,000,000) for the 2007-2008 fiscal year.  These funds shall be allocated by the Health and Wellness Trust Fund Commission as grants to nonprofit organizations conducting stem cell research.  Grants shall not exceed one million dollars ($1,000,000) per grant recipient. Funds allocated shall be matched by the grant recipient at the rate of one non-State dollar for each dollar of grant funds awarded to the recipient. The Health and Wellness Trust Fund Commission shall establish guidelines setting eligibility requirements for grant applicants, and for applying for, expending, and reporting on the use of grant funds.

SECTION 3.  Section 2 of this act becomes effective July 1, 2007. The remainder of this act is effective when it becomes law.