So much for KBA being independent, free from politics

The Kansas Bioscience Authority was set up with a separate governing board in an attempt to minimize political influence on funding decisions. But those walls have been crumbling in recent years. Wichita lawmakers intervened to get funding for a local project, and now Gov. Sam Brownback wants to use KBA’s funding to help pay for an adult stem cell research center. The Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center was an idea hatched this year by some state senators and will be part of the University of Kansas Medical Center. KU never asked for the center, and the project’s medical and commercial merit was never vetted. As part of the spending adjustments that he released this week, Brownback proposed diverting almost $1.2 million from KBA next year to create the center and about $750,000 annually to help pay for its operation.