Legislative priority #5: Shut down CPRIT (and other agencies like it.)

Pratt on TexasIn my list of priorities for the Texas Legislature Priority Five is ending state programs such as CPRIT, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, which prevents nothing and is little more than a government pass-through program which abuses its existence by using money control to force other institutions to adopt social policies its leaders favor.

In March of 2012 [see below] I wrote: “But, it’s not the agency’s fiscal management that is troubling, it’s the agency using our money to push a social agenda, and doing so in a manner contrary to good science and curing cancer.

…the Legislature never intended this agency to have the authority to require other units of state government to change policy beyond anything to do with research…

“CPRIT has released a demand that any agency receiving funding has to ban possession of tobacco products from any facility doing research, including in all adjoining structures, parking lots and even green space… It’s so demanding that the boards of regents of universities have had to meet to change their rules to satisfy CPRIT.”

As I stated in 2012, the Legislature never intended this agency to have the authority to require other units of state government to change policy beyond anything to do with research to stay in the good graces of those appointed to the CPRIT board.

The Austin American-Statesman recently ran this headline: “CPRIT, state’s cancer-fighting agency, faces uncertain future heading into legislative session.” In the story CPRIT’s backers say the agency was never meant to be self-supporting and want voters to hand it billions more.

We don’t need an appointed board picking favorites for research grants derived from our money but it will be hard to end this ill-advised program because legislators will fear being tagged as voting against curing cancer!


This was my commentary from 16 March 2012:

Earlier this week, telecommunications giant Jimmy Mansour joined Pratt on Texas in his role as chairman of CPRIT, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. Mansour was appointed to the spot by Lite Governor Dewhurst in 2008.

The CPRIT overhead of only one percent is a testament to the good fiscal management Mansour and the board have provided. But, it’s not the agency’s fiscal management that is troubling, it’s the agency using our money to push a social agenda, and doing so in a manner contrary to good science and curing cancer.

CPRIT has released a demand that any agency receiving funding has to ban possession of tobacco products from any facility doing research, including in all adjoining structures, parking lots and even green space. It’s not a smoking ban as Mansour first tried to describe it but, a ban on the possession of tobacco period.

It’s so demanding that the boards of regents of universities have had to meet to change their rules to satisfy CPRIT. Two big problems exist with this: First, where does CPRIT have the authority to require other units of state government to change policy well beyond anything to do with research? And second, where is the science which concludes that any cancer-cure breakthrough can’t come from a researcher who uses tobacco? Obviously there isn’t any. CPRIT is pushing its moral policy in a way that is an overreach, and endangers us all by, pre-guessing that any research a tobacco user might do will be worthless.

What’s next, forcing a ban on sugary drinks or coffee at research facilities?


Note this paragraph from a story on the state auditor: “The auditor’s cancer institute report resulted in felony charges against one of the grant managers and funding cuts made in the next legislative session. This year, legislators are being asked either to approve another $3 billion in borrowing to fund the institute or cut off public funding altogether.”

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