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Statement from Chancellor John Wiley on Assembly Bill 499

September 28, 2005

“The failure of the Wisconsin State Senate to amend Assembly Bill 499, which effectively criminalizes a promising area of biomedical research, sends a frightening message to Wisconsin’s research community. Scientists in many fields view this with alarm. It is a message that special interests can close off legitimate avenues of scientific inquiry. As we work to attract the best scientific talent and build industries capable of providing the high-end jobs Wisconsin needs, a negative perception of the state’s climate for cutting-edge research will do nothing but harm those efforts.

“Several legislators, notably Alberta Darling, Robert Cowles, Michael Ellis and Jeff Plale, took a courageous stand to amend this faulty legislation. The amendment would have banned reproductive cloning but kept open an area of research that is not only scientifically promising, but holds out hope for many people with serious and sometimes fatal diseases. We applaud those senators for their willingness to stand up to those who would set back science and medical research that may one day provide effective new treatments for Wisconsin citizens with terrible diseases.”