- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 23, 2002

RICHMOND A Republican delegate's effort to permanently ban a Norfolk medical school from using human embryos for stem-cell research was killed in the House of Delegates yesterday.
Floor amendments offered by Delegate Robert G. Marshall, Prince William Republican, were voted down after Republican colleagues argued Mr. Marshall's amendments were redundant.
Virginia already has a law against cloning, and the Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) announced last week that it would stop creating human embryos for stem-cell research, said Delegate Robert Tata, Virginia Beach Republican.
The amendments, attached to a bill sponsored by Mr. Tata to change the name of the Medical College of Hampton Roads to Eastern Virginia Medical School, would have made permanent EVMS's new policy.
If the amendments had become law, EVMS would also have not been allowed to access the 60 stem-cell lines President Bush approved last summer as part of his compromise on banning federal funding on embryonic research.
Mr. Tata's bill goes to its third reading today.
The Senate approved a bill outlawing open containers of alcohol by a 31-7 vote. The legislation, which failed in a House committee last week, is needed in order for Virginia to receive millions of dollars in federal money for highway-construction projects.
Currently, the money the state receives goes into a fund to teach about the dangers of alcohol. The Senate version of the bill is expected to come up again in the House Militia and Police Committee.
Gov. Mark R. Warner's choice for public safety secretary, John W. Marshall, was grilled yesterday by members of a joint House Militia and Police and Courts of Justice committees about his views on the death penalty.
Mr. Marshall was sworn in on Jan. 13 but is only the acting secretary until the General Assembly approves his appointment.
"In carrying out your duties, it sounds like to me that you are not comfortable with the death penalty," House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith said after asking Mr. Marshall about his views.
Mr. Marshall replied that whatever his opinion on the death penalty is, it is a private matter. He said would keep his personal views separate when consulting the governor.
The public safety secretary oversees the Corrections Department and also makes recommendations about clemency to the governor.
"My job is to support the governor," Mr. Marshall told the panel.
After the interview, he said that his "role will be to assure that the system is fair, that the process is fair."
Warner spokeswoman Ellen Qualls said that clemency petitions are ultimately the governor's decision.
"The governor is on record as supportive of the death penalty," Miss Qualls said.

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