Bill To Require BSL-Labs To Report Their Locations To The Md Health Dept. Moves Forward

It was approved last week by the Frederick County Legislative Delegation.


Annapolis Md (KM) Legislation to require private, bio-safety level-3 labs which handle deadly pathogens to report their locations, contact information and other details was approved last week by the Frederick County Legislative Delegation. The bill is sponsored by Delegate Karen Lewis Young (D). “We need to know if they’re next to schools or water supplies just so we take necessary precautions in the event of an emergency,” she says.

Delegate Young says if there is an incident at any of these private labs, the Health Department can pass on the location and other details to fire and rescue personnel, and other first-responders “Emergency responders need to respond differently if they know there are hazardous materials on site,”: she says.

This legislation has passed the House of Delegates over the past six years, but has failed in the State Senate. . “So this year I decided to take a different approach and make it a local bill only,” Delegate Young says. “So it won’t apply to the whole state. Only Frederick County.”

It also took a small step last week. “On Friday, the Delegation voted unanimously to approve it,”: she says. “Usually, when a local bill passes unanimously, it moves pretty quickly through both chambers.”

If this legislation passes, it would not affect the labs at Fort Detrick which are under federal regulations.

Delegate Young say the Citizens Laboratory Containment Community Advisory Committee studied this issue over the years, and found public labs were covered through regulations, but that was not the case with private labs.


By Kevin McManus