Top Morning News 4.8.13
University of Kansas Medical Center to start stem cell research; Lawmakers pass bill to reduce telecom regulations; Opponents see abortion bill as a new threat to choice in Kansas.
Kan. Lawmakers Approve Adult Stem Cell Center
Kansas lawmakers have approved a bill that would require the University of Kansas Medical Center to start a center to promote research and use of adult stem cells, cord blood and related stem cell therapies.
The House and Senate sent the legislation to Gov. Sam Brownback on Friday. The bill would prohibit the center from using embryonic stem cells or cells taken from aborted fetal tissue. However, the bill does not include any state funding for the proposed center.
The Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center would require $1.1 million dollars to renovate a lab and hire staff and $750,000 annually after that.
Telecom Bill Passes Legislature
State lawmakers have also given final approval to a bill that reduces state regulation of telecommunications. The measure also starts to phase out state subsidies for telecom firms.
'At Fertilization' Declaration Gives Some Pause
Abortion rights advocates in Kansas are worried that the legislature's approval of a declaration that life begins "at fertilization" will inspire new attempts to prevent the procedure.
The Kansas Legislature sent the bill to Gov. Sam Brownback on Friday. The measure also blocks tax breaks for organizations that provide abortions and makes abortions based on the sex of the baby illegal.
Bill supporters say the language is no more than a statement of principle. Language similar to Kansas' "at fertilization" wording is found in other states' laws, and wording regarding abortion is not being changed in the Kansas Constitution.
Experts say there have been no high-profile court challenges to similar language in other states.
Abortion opponents also want to pursue measures to ban most abortions as early as the sixth week of pregnancy. Others support amending the state constitution to declare that it protects the rights of individual starting at fertilization.
Kansans for Life, the most influential anti-abortion group at the Statehouse, is encouraging lawmakers to pursue less dramatic measures. The group says more headline-grabbing measures will be challenged in court.
WSU Men's Basketball Team Returns Home
The Shockers are back in Wichita after their first trip to the Final Four since 1965. Several thousand screaming fans turned up to welcome home the players Sunday after their 72-68 loss to Louisville.
Coach Gregg Marshall says the team had been on an "incredible journey" and that the fans had been "the wind in our sails." He praised the team for being "tenacious" and "hard working" and persevering through "major adversity."
Wichita State says it will host another celebration in about a week.