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Oral Argument Scheduled in Proposition 71 Challenge

Contact: Dana Cody, Life Legal Defense Foundation, 916-727-4396


SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 13 /Christian Newswire/ -- On Thursday, February 14, 2007, at 2:00 p.m., oral argument will be held in the California State Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Division 3, in the case of  People's Advocate and the National Tax Limitation Foundation vs. the Independent Citizen's Oversight Committee (ICOC).  The ICOC is the entity created by Proposition 71 to oversee the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and to award $3 billion dollars in bond revenues for research grants.  Plaintiffs People's Advocate (PA) and the National Tax Limitation Foundation (NTLF) are two taxpayer advocacy groups who sued trying to prevent this appropriation of public monies because the ICOC is not under the exclusive management and control of the State, as required by Article 16, section 3, of California's Constitution.    


The lawsuit resulted in a trial last year in the Alameda County Superior Court. PA and NTLF argued, among other things, that the members of the ICOC are chosen on the basis of their affiliations with certain institutions, not on the basis of their personal qualifications. Therefore the ICOC members' allegiance is to their employers, not to the public, who will foot the bill for the $3 billion dollars in bond monies through the taxpayer.  An adverse decision at trial resulted in the appeal by PA and NTLF, which will be argued tomorrow afternoon in the First Appellate District. 


The issues on appeal, in addition to the status of the ICOC members as representatives of their employers, are the other indications that the ICOC is not under exclusive state management and control, including the following: many of the members are not appointed by elected officials; many of the members have appointed alternates to attend ICOC meetings in their stead; and none of the members can be removed from their positions on the ICOC.  Also at issue is the evidence that the ICOC's funding decisions are overwhelming influenced by the recommendations of the Grants Working Group, none of whose members are California residents.  ICOC members see only summaries of the grant applications after they have been reviewed in closed session by the Grants Working Group, which makes recommendations for funding based on the entire application. Thus, the decision as to how to spend $3 billion in California taxpayers' money is effectively being made outside California, by non-Californians.  Plaintiffs also point to the ICOC's award of training grants, to be used for activities such as lectures on law and ethics, rather than research for cures as set out in Proposition 71, as evidence of the independence of the ICOC from state control. 


Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF) is representing the taxpayer groups in this litigation. 


LLDF was established in 1989 and is a non-profit organization committed to the sanctity of human life.  For more information, call Dana Cody at 916.727.4396.