House Passes Protections for Scientist

From Union of Concerned Scientists:

WASHINGTON (March 14, 2007) - The House of Representatives today overwhelmingly passed the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, which would, for the first time, grant federal scientists and contractors the right to expose political interference in their research without fear of retribution. The bill passed by a 331 to 94 vote, with 229 Democrats and 102 Republicans voting in favor.

The House soundly rejected an amendment from Rep. Bill Sali (R-Idaho) that would have stripped all protections for scientists from the legislation. Instead, the legislators included an amendment by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) giving scientists the right to present their research at conferences and in peer-reviewed journals.

UCS senior scientist and Scientific Integrity Program Director Francesca Grifo issued this statement:

"Today, both Republicans and Democrats stood up to protect the brave scientists who expose political interference in their work. The resounding bipartisan support for this bill should embolden the Senate to pass similar legislation and send it quickly to the president's desk.

"Censoring scientists undermines our democracy and threatens public health."

Grifo recently had a related op-ed in Oregon's Statesman Journal.

The wide and bipartisan support for this bill in the House suggests it stands a chance of passing through the Senate reasonably unscathed. Knock on wood. What do you all think of this?

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Thank god. Politics & bias need to be out of science completely. Independently determined and peer-reviewed results should drive policy, not some politicians pre-conceived/biased notions about "the way it should be".