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Tue Feb 26, 2013, 05:02 AM

Troubled cancer agency readies $182 million in grants

AUSTIN - Despite identifying a problem with another of its grant awards, the state's embattled cancer agency prepared Thursday to move $182 million in grants out of politically imposed limbo.

In its first meeting since taking heat from numerous committees of the 2013 Legislature, the governing board of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas authorized staff to start negotiating contracts on 159 grants stalled by a moratorium called for by Gov. Rick Perry and other leaders. The board instructed staff not to sign the contracts.

"If the moratorium is lifted, we will be ready to move each of these grants forward without delay," said Wayne Roberts, CPRIT's interim executive director. "But) CPRIT staff will not execute any contracts with any grantees until we receive appropriate direction from the Legislature and state leadership."

The grants have been the source of much debate since they were frozen in mid-December. State legislators have warned agency leaders not to hand out more money until they've restored public trust in how they conduct business. At they same time, legislators have expressed concern the suspension of the announced grants could harm the state in the long run, particularly by causing it to lose prominent researchers recruited from out of state but unwilling to keep waiting.

More at http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/texas/article/Troubled-cancer-agency-readies-182-million-in-4307880.php .

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