Bio-related legislation making progress

March 19, 2003

By hammersmith

Two bills that would enhance Arizona’s biosciences sector are moving through the Legislature. One would ease university technology-transfer restrictions, the other provide $29 million for research facilities at Arizona State University and the University of Arizona.

HB 2403, commonly known as the technology-transfer bill, passed the House unanimously, as well as the Senate Education and Committee committees. It would entail a ballot initiative to amend the state Constitutional to enable state universities to acquire ownership shares in companies that commercialize their inventions. Proponents say this practice will remove outdated roadblocks to taking new technologies to market, thereby increasing revenue streams to the universities and facilitating the development of startup firms.

Governor Napolitano has championed the legislation as a way to spur growth of high-tech companies. The bill next goes to the Senate Rules Committee.

HB 2408 would provide $29 million in 2004 to help ASU and UA build or expand research facilities. The funds would be split nearly evenly between the two universities for lease-purchase of facilities. This legislation has passed the House Commerce and Military Affairs Committee, and awaits a hearing in the House Appropriations and Rules committees.