SACRAMENTO -- A bill that would have required a donor's consent to collect, analyze or share genetic information died in committee Friday.
The legislation, SB222, couldn't overcome opposition from major research universities such as Stanford and the University of California, which argued that providing those protections would create unnecessary red tape and costs.
Because there were costs associated with the bill, it was sent to the Senate Appropriations Committee, which placed it on the "suspense file" with hundreds of other bills that ultimately died Friday, the last day that policy bills could be sent to the respective floors of the Legislature.
Genetic testing companies such as Mountain View-based 23AndMe will screen customers' DNA for their predisposition to cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and a host of other diseases. But a growing number of firms offer paternity testing -- with or without a person's knowledge -- as well as "infidelity testing," in which an allegedly unfaithful partner's underwear is secretly screened for genetic traces.
The author of the bill, Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Pacoima, cited Elk Grove-based EasyDNA, which makes no attempt on its website to discourage customers from secretly sending in someone else's genetic material under its "discreet DNA samples" program.
Padilla's first attempt to pass similar legislation died last year in the Appropriations Committee. The new version of the bill recently narrowly passed the Senate Judiciary Committee before dying in the Appropriations Committee.
Major research universities such as Stanford and UC asserted that SB222 could slow the progress of research and clinical trials. In particular, the university was concerned that written consent would need to be obtained from thousands of people who previously donated samples now being used in research and clinical trials -- a process they claim could cost millions of dollars for extra administrative work.