In a telphone interview concerning my previous post, “Stem Cell Advocates Protest Swinford’s Conduct,” State Affairs committee chairman David Swinford said, “I believe life starts at conception, but that didn’t have anything to do with how I was running the committee. We made a decision at 10:30 [p.m., when the hearing started]. We had kids from ages 4 to 11, who came in to testify. I made a ‘grandfather’ decision to let the kids testify first. Some had to go to school the next day.” According to Swinford, the bill, HB 3678, tracked federal court cases on “what kids could say or not say in school.” “If schools had a policy that would allow student expression, a student had the right to say something in the form of a prayer, such as for the safety of the players involved,” Swinford said. “We have been losing lawsuits. The bill had been up the week before and we hadn’t been able to get to it.”
Swinford also asked why he hadn’t been afforded the opportunity to respond. The answer is that this isn’t a newspaper; it’s a blog. It is a continuing posting of information. The letter and the press release are newsworthy in their own right. I called two people close to Swinford to give him advance notice that I was posting the item and said that I would come to the Capitol. When, as it happened, I couldn’t come, he called me. The item wasn’t so much about Swinford as it was the stem cell research issue. When I heard that the bill had been moved out of the committee, I was interested in its political implications.