A group opposed to a ballot measure on stem cell research has announced plans to fly around the state tomorrow to announce their position. I’ll use the opportunity to reiterate my support for the ballot measure proposed by the Coalition for Lifesaving Cures.
The ballot measure is a modest one. Far from breaking any new ground, it simply asks that the state of Missouri not make its statutes regulating stem cell research more stringent than the federal laws on the same subject. Adopting more restrictive laws, argues the bi-partisan Coalition, would put the state at an economic disadvantage — and would kill the important life science research of university centers in St. Louis and Kansas City.
The right to set state policy by referendum is an important one. Ballot measures allow voters to signal new directions to their fellow residents and law makers. Recent ballot measures in Missouri have made us the national leader in spending on good early childhood education programs and well-planned workforce development.
Actually, they have not. Unfortunately, Missouri usually seems to exert a greater attraction for the nation’s contrarians — splinter groups that see our state as an easy place in which to promote regressive social and economic policies — than for progressive groups that could give Show Me voters the opportunity to lead the nation in education or enlightened employment.
This time and on this issue, Missouri voters should take the relatively progressive step of voting to remain no more restrictive than federal law.