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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 24, 2020 09:44 AM
From: Senator Doug Mastriano
To: All Senate members
Subject: Transparency Revisions to the Disease Prevention & Control Law of 1955
In the near future, I intend to introduce legislation to update the state’s Disease Prevention and Control Law of 1955, in an effort to enhance transparency.

My legislation will revise the restrictions that are preventing the PA Dept. of Health from publicizing relevant facts and data concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, my legislation will enable the Health Department to release more information - - - that is currently considered private - - - during health epidemics.

Currently, the law allows the Health Department to keep records and reports of contagious diseases strictly confidential. Unfortunately, the Health Department has been using this outdated law to withhold life-saving information during the ongoing pandemic.

During the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, state health officials were not providing the public with the total number of samples tested, the number of people quarantined after possible exposure, or the exact age of identified persons, which potentially exacerbated this crisis.

It is disheartening that neighboring states have been more transparent about potential cases.

The state Senate commissioned a report on this outdated law in 2013, and my proposed legislation will reflect components of that report, as well as augment transparency.

A lot has changed since the 1950’s in regards to public health, so our state law should reflect that evolution in time.

Please join me in cosponsoring this important initiative.

If you have any questions, please contact Scot Pitzer in my Capitol office at spitzer@pasen.gov.

Introduced as SB1124