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University of Nebraska Public Policy Center

Legislative Workshop on Genetics Issues

The Public Policy Center hosted a legislative workshop on genetics issues on April 20, 2000 from noon to 4:15 p.m. at the Nebraska Center for Continuing Education (33rd and Holdredge St., Lincoln, NE). The workshop was for Nebraska State Senators and their staff, as well as members of the Nebraska Governor’s Commission on Human Genetic Technologies.

The workshop was coordinated by the PPC, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Center on Children, Families, and the Law, and the University of Nebraska at Kearney Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. The workshop focused on the human implications of genetics-related issues. It examined genetic issues related to employment, privacy, insurance, families, gene therapies, cloning, and discrimination. The workshop addressed such issues as:

  • What are the government’s roles in these issues?
  • What kinds of protections are governments offering (or what kind should they offer)?
  • What are industry standards (or what should they be)?
  • What are the structures of existing laws, and how should future laws be fashioned?
  • What legal challenges are being mounted against current legislation?
  • What is taking place in research, and how can research needs be balanced with other societal needs and interests?

Cheye Calvo of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) coordinated the workshop. In addition, Professor Albert “Buzz” Scherr of Franklin Pierce Law Center (New Hampshire) provided information based on his research on litigation related to genetics issues and his participation in Dartmouth’s Ethical, Legal, Social Implications of Human Genome project. Maryland State Senator Jennie M. Forehand also participated in the workshop. Senator Forehand has been involved in genetics-related legislative issues for many years and serves as co-chair of NCSL’s Genetic Technologies Project Legislative Task Force. The legislative workshop was held in conjunction with the Preparing Schools for the Genetic Revolution Conference, a two day (April 19-20, 2000) national conference sponsored by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Department of Academic Conferences and Professional Programs, Center on Children, Families, and the Law, U.S. Department of Energy, the Nebraska Humanities Council, and the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center.