>Here’s a link to a post from last January on HB 14, and House Joint Resolution 90, the Bills which became Proposition 15, the Legislation for $3 billion in cancer research bonds and the Texas Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.
The original article is no longer available on the Austin American Statesman site, but here’s another article on the debate:
From the San Antonio Express-News, November 3, 2007,
Unlike the California initiative, which was enmeshed in controversy — and litigation — over potential conflicts in its governing board, Proposition 15 would create a new entity — the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas — that would operate with two advisory boards. A scientific group would decide which research ideas merit funding, while a panel of 11 political appointees would provide oversight.
Political appointees would be restricted from decisions about institutions to which they have ties. And they could overrule the scientists on individual grants only with a two-thirds majority vote. The governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the House each would appoint threepanel members. The other two would be the governor and state comptroller, or their delegates.
Local communities have been moving to put together lists of local candidates in the event the measure passes, believing the panel would make sure the money is distributed fairly across the state, rather than simply handing most of it over to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center — Texas’ 600-pound gorilla of cancer research. The Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce’s health care and bioscience committee would recommend John Kerr, president of the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research; and Phyllis Browning, CEO of Phyllis Browning Co.; as well as a slate of top local cancer experts for the scientific panel, said Ron Tefteller, who chairs the committee.
Local cancer researchers acknowledge that even with all that, they’ll be at a competitive disadvantage with their neighbors to the east — as well as other Texas research institutions with a richer pool of benefactors. The law would require that researchers find matching funds equal to half the amount of the grant they’re seeking under the program — “skin in the game,” Nelson calls it.