House approves stem cell bill
By DAVID ABRAMS, Staff Writer

The House of Delegates approved a bill yesterday that would earmark $23 million a year for embryonic stem cell research and $2 million for prostate cancer screening and treatment. But a Senate version of the bill is in trouble.

The 81-53 House vote followed an emotional debate in which some lawmakers recounted personal stories of how the research could help them and their loved ones suffering from debilitating diseases. Opponents countered that the technology isn't far enough advanced to merit the use of taxpayer money.

...The money for the stem cell bill comes from the state's share of the multimillion-dollar tobacco settlement reached several years ago. This year, the state paid its last $30 million installment of the settlement money to Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos for representing the state in the case.

...One of the most controversial measures in the General Assembly this year, the stem cell bill has run into trouble in the Senate. Opponents have promised a filibuster and it remains in committee.

On Friday, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., D-Calvert, said the Senate's Budget and Taxation Committee would likely strip the spending out of the bill.