State of Washington
66th Legislature
2020 Regular Session
ByHouse Innovation, Technology & Economic Development (originally sponsored by Representatives Slatter and Irwin)
AN ACT Relating to creating a study committee on human genome editing; adding a new section to chapter 70.220 RCW; creating a new section; and providing an expiration date.
NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1. The legislature finds that the increasing scientific knowledge of genetics and genomics has offered insights into fundamental biological processes and enabled accurate diagnosis, early intervention, and targeted therapies of genetic diseases. In addition, the science of human genome editing, a collection of technologies for creating changes in human genome, has advanced rapidly and demonstrated significant potential increases in efficiency and precision of achieving desired results while reducing unintended or harmful events. With these advances come many profound ethical questions about a wide range of potential applications that include not only treating but also preventing disease in this and future generations, or altering human traits unrelated to health concerns. Ensuring safe and ethically acceptable uses of these powerful tools and precluding irresponsible practices require establishing appropriate regulations based on rigorous discussions with the scientific community and diverse stakeholders about the health and societal benefits and risks of human genome editing.
NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2. A new section is added to chapter 70.220 RCW to read as follows:
(1) For the purpose of this section, "human genome editing" means any process, techniques, or technologies for making precise additions, deletions, and alterations to the human genome.
(2)(a) The Washington academy of sciences formed under this chapter must establish a study committee to examine scientific, ethical, and societal issues associated with human genome editing and to inform legislative approaches to safe and ethically responsible uses of human genome editing.
(b) The study committee must:
(i) Review existing scientific research on the safety and efficacy of human genome editing and evaluate potential health applications, benefits, and risks of human genome editing;
(ii) Examine the ethical, legal, and societal implications of using human genome editing;
(iii) Review existing regulatory infrastructure and processes for evaluating or funding human genome editing development and uses; and
(iv) Develop guiding principles for regulating human genome editing.
(c) The membership of the study committee is not limited to persons elected to the Washington academy of sciences and must include:
(i) Researchers and clinicians from relevant scientific disciplines;
(ii) Experts in the area of bioethics, ethics and public health, or ethics and the emerging biomedical technologies;
(iii) Scientific and technical experts in the biotechnology industry who have an understanding of human genome editing and gene therapies development; and
(iv) Representatives of the two largest caucuses of the senate and the house of representatives, appointed by the president of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives, respectively, to serve on the study committee in a nonvoting observational capacity.
(d) In considering the issues described in (b) of this subsection, the study committee must solicit public participation and hold at least one meeting to provide a public forum for diverse perspectives about human genome editing.
(e) By October 1, 2021, and in compliance with RCW 43.01.036, the study committee must submit to the relevant committees of the legislature a report that summarizes the activities and findings of the study committee and recommends the guiding principles for regulating human genome editing.
(3) This section expires June 30, 2022.
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