Sunset and Preemption
NBAC proposed that any law include both sunset review and
preemption provisions. Regarding a sunset review provision, NBAC stated in its report:
It is notoriously difficult to draft legislation at any
particular moment that can serve to both exploit and govern the rapid and unpredictable
advances of science. Some mechanism, therefore, such as a sunset provision, is absolutely
needed to ensure an opportunity to re-examine any judgment made today about the
implications of somatic cell nuclear transfer cloning of human beings. As scientific
information accumulates and public discussion continues, a new judgment may develop and
we, as a society, need to retain the flexibility to adjust our course in this manner. A
sunset provision...ensures that the question of cloning will be revisited by the
legislature in the future, when scientific and medical questions have been clarified,
possible uses have been identified, and public discussion of the deeper moral concerns
about this practice have matured. (NBAC report at 101)
President Clinton has proposed a five year sunset in his
bill. S. 1602 includes a ten year sunset and S. 1599/S. 1601 includes no sunset review.
BIO supports inclusion of a sunset review provision, but the
most important issue is whether the terms of the prohibition in any law focuses only on
the issue of human cloning. A sunset review provision will not undo the damaged which a
poorly crafted, over broad law would do to biomedical research prior to the sunset date.
S. 1602, but not S. 1599/S. 1601, includes a clause which
preempts inconsistent state laws. NBAC strongly supported a preemption of state laws:
The advantage to federal legislation -- as opposed to
state-by-state laws -- lies primarily in its comprehensive coverage and clarity....Besides
ensuring interstate uniformity, a federal law would relieve the need to rely on the
cooperation of diverse medical and scientific societies, or the actions of diverse IRBs,
to achieve the policy objective. As an additional benefit, federal legislation could
displace the varied state legislative efforts now ongoing, some of which suffer from
ambiguous drafting that could inadvertently prohibit the important cellular and molecular
cloning research described...in this report. (NBAC report at 100).
Numerous bills introduced in state legislatures, some of
which are very poorly crafted and over broad.
BIO supports inclusion of a preemption clause. Again, the key
issue is whether the prohibition in any law focuses only on the issue of human cloning and
does not imperil biomedical research. A poorly drafted, over broad Federal law which
preempts state laws might do even more damage.