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Voting yes on Prop 14 means supporting stem cell research through a $5.5 billion state bond. It’s a loan that California, through its taxpayer-supported general fund, would have to pay back with interest over 30 years.

Prop 14 would extend funding that has almost run out for the state’s stem cell research institute, which was created with the approval of California voters in 2004 after President George W. Bush banned federally funding studies that use newly created stem cell lines.

The research supports the development of treatments and cures for cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and other medical conditions. Prop 14 also comes with new rules on spending the funds, including more access to stem cell treatment for patients.

Voting no on Prop 14 means rejecting a new bond to continue state funding for stem cell research.

Supporters: Cedars-Sinai, City of Hope, the Michael J. Fox Foundation and other research and patient advocacy groups have helped raise more than $6.5 million to promote Prop 14. The coalition says stem cell research has led to “significant progress” that includes clinical trials, more than 2,900 medical discoveries and benefits for patients with chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and ALS.

Critics: No organized effort has raised money to oppose Prop 14, but some newspaper editorial boards such as the L.A. Times’ argue that the measure isn’t the best way to back stem-cell research. “The idea was never for California to become the long-term replacement for federal funding,” the L.A. Times editorial board said. “It was to kick-start an industry that would then operate on its own.”