|I plan to introduce legislation which will modernize and strengthen the use of DNA technology to better fight violent crime in Pennsylvania.
DNA science has advanced dramatically in the two decades since Pennsylvania’s DNA Database was created. Since then, the federal government and more than half of the states have improved their DNA collection and testing policies. Pennsylvania has not. This legislation will make dramatic improvements in how Pennsylvania uses DNA technology to fight crime, to get violent criminals off our streets, and to make our communities safer
This legislation will:
The DNA sample collection provisions will be phased in over multiple years:
- Require post-arrest DNA samples to be collected from those charged with criminal homicide, sex offenses, all other felonies, and certain other violent crimes.
- Establish strong privacy measures to ensure the proper use of DNA records, including a prohibition against using DNA samples for anything other than legitimate law enforcement identification purposes;
- Establish an expungement process for the DNA records of exonerated individuals;
- Codify accreditation requirements for forensic DNA testing laboratories;
- Require continuing education for forensic DNA testing personnel;
- Authorize the state police to use modified DNA searches to help investigators identify unknown DNA profiles taken at crime scenes; and
- Require the State Police to submit an annual report to the General Assembly on the collection and testing of DNA samples.
Supporters of this legislation include the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association, the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association, the Pennsylvania State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, and the national organization DNA Saves.
- For criminal homicide, one year after the effective date of the act.
- For felony sex offenses, two years after the effective date of the act.
- For other felonies and certain other violent crimes, three years after the effective date of the act.
This legislation will be similar to Senate Bill 150 (printer’s number 1243) from the 2013-14 legislative session, which was approved by the Senate, 38 to 9, on June 18, 2013.