Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House without amendment (10/23/2001)

Bioterrorism Prevention Act of 2001 - Amends the Federal criminal code to set penalties for: (1) possessing, using, or exercising control over a "select agent" (i.e., a biological agent or toxin that is listed and not exempt under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA)) in a manner constituting reckless disregard for the public health and safety, knowing the agent to be a biological agent or toxin; (2) causing bodily injury to another in the course of a violation; (3) possessing such agents without registration; and (4) transferring such agents to an unregistered person.

Prohibits "restricted persons" (i.e., specified persons prohibited by the code from owning a handgun) from possessing, or taking specified actions with respect to, select agents. Allows the Secretary of Health and Human Services to designate categories or individuals who may be admitted to the United States on non-immigrant visas to permit them to work with such agents.

Amends the AEDPA to direct the Secretary to: (1) provide by regulation for the establishment and enforcement of standards and procedures governing the possession and use of biological agents and toxins in order to protect the public health and safety, including safeguards to prevent access to such agents and toxins for use in domestic or international terrorism or for other criminal purposes; and (2) promulgate an interim final rule.

Prohibits the disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act of agency information that identifies a person, or the geographic location of a person, who is registered pursuant to such regulations, and any site-specific information relating to the type, quantity, or identity of a listed biological agent or toxin or the site-specific security mechanisms in place to protect such agents and toxins, except for disclosures for purposes of protecting public health and safety, or to congressional committees or subcommittees with appropriate jurisdiction upon request.

Establishes civil penalties of up to $250,000 in the case of an individual and $500,000 in the case of entities for violation of AEDPA regulations regarding transfers of listed biological agents.

Directs the Secretary to report to Congress on compliance with the existing and expanded regulatory regime for control of select agents, and to provide recommendations for administrative or legislative initiatives.