Governor Doyle: Vetoes Assembly Bill 499

Anne Lupardus, Office of the Governor, 608-261-2162

Bill Would Have Restricted Life-Saving Stem Cell Research

Governor Jim Doyle today vetoed Assembly Bill 499, which would have criminalized some of the most promising scientific techniques used by stem cell researchers.

“While we can all agree that human cloning is not acceptable, it has already been prohibited by the federal Food and Drug Administration,” Governor Doyle said. “The real purpose of this bill is to restrict stem cell research, which holds enormous potential for our state as well as the promise of curing juvenile diabetes, spinal cord injuries, and Parkinson’s disease.”

Specifically, AB 499 would not only prohibit human or therapeutic cloning, but would make anyone who violated the prohibition guilty of a class G felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. It would also have established a fine of $500,000 for any business caught violating the prohibition, or if there was a financial gain by that business, the fine would be double the amount of money received. Under AB 499, any individual caught conducting human or therapeutic cloning would be subject to a $250,000 find or double the amount of any financial gain.

“Allowing our scientists to conduct stem cell research and find cures to the world’s deadliest diseases is not about being liberal or conservative,” Governor Doyle said. “It’s about being compassionate. And respect for human life means you don’t turn your back on cures that can save lives.”

Governor Doyle was joined at the veto announcement by Dr. Jamie Thomson, Ruth Shelly, and Ruth’s daughter, Maggie Shelly. Maggie, who has juvenile diabetes, thanked Governor Doyle for his veto of AB 499.

“It is unfortunate that the United States Congress has so far turned its back on stem cell research, refusing to support important legislation to accelerate stem cell research. We should not follow their example in Wisconsin,” Governor Doyle said. “I hope that this veto will send a clear message to the Legislature, the scientific community, and to families who are hoping and praying for cures: Wisconsin will remain at the forefront of stem cell research.”

Read Governor Doyle’s veto message: