MN Senate Committee Says NO to Bill that would Repeal Genetic Privacy Rights

But threat to genetic privacy remains

Saint Paul/April 8, 2009 - The genetic privacy rights of Minnesota citizens were given a boost yesterday by the Minnesota Senate Judiciary Committee when it refused to hear SF 1478, the Senate bill to repeal genetic privacy rights, says Citizens' Council on Health Care.

"We are pleased that the Senate Judiciary Committee chose not to hear the Baby DNA Warehouse bill. The bill was set to make null and void the Minnesota genetic privacy law," said Twila Brase, president of CCHC

"The proposed elimination of informed written consent requirements for the taking, storage and use of newborn blood and DNA would repeal the genetic privacy law for everyone born today, everyone born in the last 23 years, and everyone born in the future," she added.

Yesterday at midnight was the deadline for getting bills through all policy committees. Bills that failed to make it through policy committees by midnight are no longer considered for adoption by the legislature.

Second baby DNA warehouse bill emerges
Last Thursday, Rep. Paul Thissen (D-Mpls), the author of the companion House bill, HF 1341, amended the newborn DNA language onto HF 1760, what he called a "technical bill." This strategy may have emerged to address the impending Senate committee's decision not to hear SF 1478. At the hearing, Rep. Thissen said HF 1760, had turned from a technical bill into the "health care policy omnibus bill." Rep. Laura Brod (R-New Prague) attempted to delete the Baby DNA language from the amendment, but was unsuccessful. HF 1760's companion bill in the Senate, SF 1526, has made the policy committee deadline,.

Brase says she expects Senate supporters of repealing genetic privacy rights to attempt to attach the Baby DNA House language to the Senate bill during the floor debate on SF 1526.

"Genetic privacy rights remain seriously threatened," says Brase. "If this new baby DNA bill becomes law, the only ones with genetic privacy rights in Minnesota will be people who are grown adults today. The genetic privacy law will no longer protect children and adults in future generations from government claims on citizen DNA."

Media Contact:

Twila Brase, President
Phone: 651-646-8935 (office)