ACLU-PA Position: Neutral*
SB 1110 (PN 1702) proposes a change in content and scope to Pennsylvania’s Disease Prevention and Control Law of 1955, which prohibits state and local health authorities from disclosing reports of diseases or records pertaining to diseases to anyone outside those agencies, “except where necessary to carry out the purposes of this act.” The bill aims to assist public safety personnel by sharing the address of anyone who tests positive for a communicable disease that is the subject of a disaster declaration. This new provision would:
- Apply to any communicable disease, not just diseases contracted through airborne transmission;
- Expand the entities with whom private information is shared (beyond state and local health authorities) to include 911 centers, law enforcement officers, fire department and emergency medical services personnel, medical examiners, and coroners;
- Share this data with each of those entities within 24-hours after confirming a positive case; and
- Restrict the use — but not the sharing — of data to personnel responding to a call at a residence.
** The ACLU-PA changed its position to neutral after SB 1110 was amended (PN 2107) on the House floor to limit some of the bill's provisions. Among other changes, the bill is now limited to communicable diseases contracted through airborne transmission and importantly, would limit the sharing of an address with a confirmed positive case to 911 centers. This means that dispatch centers are the only entities that receive this data and that it is only shared with public safety personnel when they are responding to a call at that address.