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Apr 26, 2021

Maryland Now Requires Licensing of any Forensic Genealogist Who Works With Police

The following is an extract from the AJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee mailing list and is republished here with permission:

The Maryland Legislature passed HB 240 (http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2021RS/bills/hb/hb0240f.pdf) and is on its way to the governor’s desk for his signature.  The bill is entitled: Criminal Procedure- Forensic Genetic Genealogical DNA Analysis, Searching, Regulation and Oversight. Considering the margins by which it passed both chambers of the legislature it appears to be veto-proof: House of Delegates 136:1 and Senate by 40:0.

Included in the legislation is the requirement that laboratories performing SNP or other sequencing tests must be licensed by October 1, 2022 and that genetic genealogists must be licensed by October 1, 2024.  It also stipulates that a laboratory using sequencing techniques using a direct-to-consumer or publicly available open data personal genomics database has to provide notice to its users and the public that law enforcement may use its service sites to investigate crimes or to identify unidentified human remains.

The laboratories performing SNP or other sequenced-based testing and the genetic genealogist must be licensed by the Office of Health Care Quality.  Informed consent is required in writing and the person obtaining informed consent must have training from a bioethicist approved by the Office of Health Care Quality and the informed consent must be documented by video or audio recording.

The bill also goes into detail about third-parties such as they are not the suspect in the investigation, how they were identified through a search of a direct-to-consumer or publicly-available open data personal genomics database as a potential relative and more. The bill also calls for destruction of the sample under specified circumstances. 

The bill requires an annual report to the governor , the General Assembly and is publicly available by the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. 

Judy Russell’s excellent summary of the bill may be found at:  https://www.legalgenealogist.com/2021/04/25/dna-day-2021/

Scroll down to below the National DNA graphic half-way down the page. 

Note the bill ONLY addressed genealogists working with the police or on a police-related case.

A similar bill was introduced in 2019 but did not get out of the Legislature.

Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Apr 26, 2021

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