Jane Nelson just won final passage of the Cancer Research bill — which, upon approval by Texas voters, gives the state the authority to borrow up to $3 billion through the sale of bonds to finance cancer research over the next 10 years.

The bill was strongly promoted by a host of cancer research advocates, including Tour de France champion Lane Armstrong. Armstrong watched the debate and vote from the Senate gallery today.

This morning, an opponent of the bill — who does not want to see the state take on more debt — told me he realized his position would not prevail. “I think we are about to get run over by a little guy on a bike,” he said.

The bill’s passage came in part due to Nelson dropping her opposition to Rodney Ellis’ statewide smoking ban bill. Ellis pointed out in debate today that his bill would prevent cancer “without costing a nickel.” That bill may be debated tomorrow.