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Cambridge Mayor Alfred E. Vellucci said last night he believes bills now before Congress proposing federal guidelines for all DNA research in the United States may "put the cities and towns out of business" by supplanting local regulations with federal laws.
Vellucci said last week he will sponsor a resolution at next month's United States Conference of Mayors calling for federal regulations that would allow local communities to adopt standards stricter than the federal laws.
Several of the bills now before the Senate Committee on Human Resources would establish national laws to take the place of local regulations, but the local laws would still hold if they were more stringent, Alan Fox, a counsel for the subcommittee that originally considered the bills, said yesterday.
Fox said the Senate Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research, chaired by Sen.Edward M. Kennedy '54 (D-Mass.), presented three bills to the full committee last month, and is writing its own bill to be presented soon.
The Cambridge City Council voted earlier this week to urge that the Human Resources committee delay its consideration of the bills until the council receives copies of them.
Vellucci said last night he would consider testifying if the hearings were held late this month.
Fox said he expected the full committee to recommend one of the bills to the Senate by the end of the month.
A House subcommittee is considering four other bills that would set national regulations on DNA research, and a staff assistant, Jan Owlich, said yesterday she expects the subcommittee to present a composite bill to the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce next Tuesday.
Owlich, staff assistant on the House Subcommittee on Health and Environment, said the committee has not yet decided what form the regulations would take, or who would administer them.
Under the bills being considered by the Senate committee, the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare would administer the regulations, and under the subcommittee bill a special regulatory committee would be in charge.
All of the Senate bills would allow DNA gene-splicing research to continue, but would require varying degrees of inspection and regulation of research facilities
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