Gov. Matt Blunt's plan to sell some of the assets of the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority has taken some interesting turns in recent days. After putting together what seemed to be a working agreement with key legislators to move the plan forward without legislative approval, the governor reversed himself and said he would wait for the legislature to act when it reconvenes in January.
But perhaps the most interesting development was a restriction added by the Missouri Development Finance Board. The proceeds of the MOHELA sale were to have been distributed by the MDFB to state-funded colleges and universities for capital improvements. But, the MDFB decided, recipients would have to pledge not to use any of the MOHELA-financed buildings for embryonic stem-cell research.
The stem-cell issue is a hot one right now. Amendment 2, which will be on the Nov. 7 general election ballot, would -- if approved -- amend the Missouri Constitution and establish guidelines regarding stem-cell research in the state.
Some universities, particularly those either heavily involved in research or planning to develop life sciences projects down the road, are reluctant to tie the needed funding to such a limitation.
Let the voters have their say in November. Whatever the outcome of the Amendment 2 issue should be the guiding principle for stem-cell research -- without any sidebar restrictions cobbled together when doling out MOHELA funding.