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Genetic Discrimination Bill Clears California Senate

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The California State Senate has passed a bill that would provide broader protections from genetic discrimination than does the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) of 2008, by extending into areas such as life insurance, housing, and employment.

Following closely after the State Assembly, which approved the bill late last week, the Senate passed State Sen. Alex Padilla's (D – Pacoima) SB 559 bill on a (24 – 10) vote.

If it is signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, the bill would amend two anti-discrimination laws already on the California books to prohibit genetic discrimination in the areas of health and life insurance coverage, housing, mortgage lending, employment, education, public accommodations, and elections.

"Discrimination on the basis of genetic information is no less offensive than discrimination based on race, gender, or sexual orientation," Padilla said in a statement detailing his bill. "California has a compelling interest in promoting and fostering the medical promise of genomics while relieving the fear of discrimination by strengthening laws to prevent it."

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