Senator Alex PadillaSACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Calif. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) this week introduced SB 222, which would establish the California Genetic Information Privacy Act. SB 222 would prohibit the unauthorized collection, analysis, transfer or storage of an individual’s genetic information.

“I strongly support and believe in the promise of genomic research to improve public health and our quality of life. I also believe that stronger privacy protections should be in place to guard against the unauthorized access and illegitimate use of genomic data and information,” said Senator Alex Padilla.

“We have laws to protect the privacy of our financial information, our medical records, and even the books we check out from the local library. SB 222 would extend California privacy protections to a person’s genetic material and information,” said Senator Padilla. “We need genomic privacy protections because nothing is more personal than our DNA,” added Senator Padilla.

Genomic sequencing and testing is fast approaching the point where it will be widely affordable to the general public and an integral part of health care. What took years of international effort to produce in the mid-1980’s can now be completed in days. Analysis of genetic material can allow for early detection of disease long before symptoms become apparent. Genetic markers can also suggest propensity for diseases that may or may not ever develop. Genomic information can make it possible to identify an individual and discover the private health information of an individual and that individual’s relatives.

“Advancement in genomic research and individual privacy must go hand-in-hand. No person should have their genetic material taken, tested and given to others without authorization. All Californians deserve these basic protections,” Padilla added.

In 2011 the Governor signed Bill 559 (Padilla), which expanded California civil rights laws by prohibiting discrimination based on genetic information in housing, employment, education, public accommodations, health insurance coverage, life insurance coverage, mortgage lending, and elections.

Senator Alex Padilla, 39, graduated from MIT with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He currently serves on the Board of MIT and is President of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. He is Chair of the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee and represents the more than 1,100,000 residents of the 20th State Senate District in Los Angeles.

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