November 12, 2020
PALO ALTO, CA – The YES on Proposition 14 campaign today announced that a majority of Californians have decisively voted yes on Proposition 14, the California Stem Cell Research, Treatments and Cures Initiative of 2020.
The passage of Prop. 14 represents the people’s will and drive to continue investing in the research and discovery of stem cell treatments and cures for chronic illnesses and conditions including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, stroke, respiratory diseases, ALS, immune disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, HIV/AIDS and more. By passing the measure, voters authorized $5.5 billion in state general obligation bonds to continue funding stem cell research and the development of treatments and cures through the state’s stem cell institute – the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).
“The success of Prop. 14 sends a clear message from California voters that one of the most important investments our state can make is in the future health of our families. Over the past decade, California has made incredibly thoughtful and impactful investments in developing stem cell therapies and cures for diseases and conditions like diabetes, cancer, blindness, Parkinson’s, paralysis and many more; now we know this progress and work to mitigate human suffering, restore health and improve the human condition will continue,” said Robert and Danielle Klein, Chairs of Californians for Stem Cell Research, Treatments and Cures. “A special thank you to California’s voters and our supporters in passing this critical measure. Today would not have been possible without our historically unprecedented coalition of patient advocate organizations and individuals – the heart and soul of this campaign – who worked tirelessly to overcome all obstacles and help secure a victory for patients and their families, and deliver hope to those searching for a cure for generations to come.”
State funding for stem cell research in California began in 2004 when voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 71 with nearly 60% of the vote, establishing CIRM. As the last of the initial funding was committed this year, Prop. 14 was introduced to continue critical work that could save or improve the lives of millions of Californians living with chronic diseases and conditions. With the passage of Prop. 14, California voters have joined the legions of patient advocates and organizations, elected officials, hundreds of the world’s top scientists and physicians, community leaders and activists, Nobel Prize winners, leading business organizations and many more that stood up for California patients by supporting the critical measure.
“We’re proud to have been a leading supporter of Proposition 14, which is accelerating life-changing breakthroughs for type 1 diabetes and many other diseases burdening our healthcare system,” said Cynthia Rice, Chief Mission Strategy Officer for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). “By continuing this investment, we have the potential to improve lives in this generation and many more to come.”
The funding from Prop. 14 will help ensure promising research, clinical trials and treatments underway will continue, and protect stem cell research from the detrimental effects of instability due to limited and inconsistent federal funding. This is in addition to the significant number of promising clinical trials and research waiting for funding which can now be advanced. Funding will also provide for new discovery research that will serve as the foundation of the next generation of therapies and cures. The initiative will also help stimulate the state’s economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic by creating jobs and generating additional tax revenue. Costing the state of California an average of $5 per person per year, with state payments not starting until 2026, it was ultimately decided by California voters that Prop. 14 is a relatively small but essential investment considering its potential to save millions of lives and tens of billions of dollars in healthcare costs in the coming decades.
“The American Association for Cancer Research would like to express its sincere appreciation to the citizens of California for supporting Proposition 14, which will provide a stable and consistent source of funding for biomedical research to fight numerous diseases, including cancer,” said Antoni Ribas, M.D., Ph.D., President, American Association for Cancer Research, and professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); and director of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Tumor Immunology Program. “These resources could potentially save millions of lives—an impact that will extend far beyond the state of California.”
“On behalf of the entire community of all who are living with ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases, I am so grateful that the vitally important and leading-edge scientific work that CIRM funds will continue,” said Fred Fisher, President and CEO of The ALS Association Golden West Chapter.
“The American Diabetes Association is grateful for the support of Californians who voted to pass Proposition 14,” said Cynthia E. Muñoz, PhD, MPH, President-Elect of the American Diabetes Association, Health Care & Education. “This measure will ensure continued funding to support research for new scientific breakthroughs that can benefit the nearly 4 million Californians with diabetes and the 10.2 million with prediabetes, as well as millions with and at-risk for other serious and life-threatening health conditions.”
This campaign has faced significant challenges – from the current economic uncertainty to COVID-19 lockdowns, which halted signature gathering and caused multiple initiatives seeking qualification to throw in the towel. Robert and Danielle Klein credited patient advocate organizations, with the support of regional Chambers of Commerce, with the passage.
In thanking voters, Robert and Danielle Klein also stated, “YES on Proposition 14 was outspent by a majority of the other measures on the ballot, but from day one, our mission has been too important to give up. Patients and their families looking for cures and treatments for their loved ones do not understand the meaning of impossible, and neither did the YES on Prop. 14 campaign. This measure would not have overcome these challenges without the patient advocacy community that refused to take no for an answer and continued to fight for their loved ones; patient advocates, along with the empathy, foresight and continuing commitment of California voters, have delivered a victory for YES on Proposition 14 and secured funding to improve or save the lives of millions.”
To learn more about Proposition 14, please visit YESon14.com.