State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

The State House Sound Bites Podcast is now called State of the State and is a part of PA Post, a digital-first, citizen-focused news organization to hold Pennsylvania’s government accountable to its citizens.

Pared down bill would limit law enforcement DNA sample collection

Written by Mary Wilson | Feb 17, 2016 4:36 AM

FILE PHOTO: The state Capitol building in Harrisburg. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(Harrisburg) -- The state House has scaled back a measure that aims to redefine how law enforcement could use DNA samples in Pennsylvania.

A measure before the full House would have allowed police and prosecutors to collect your DNA if you were arrested, but not yet convicted, of certain crimes.

The House has scrubbed that part of the bill, which now allows DNA collection to come from convicted criminals only.

The changes address concerns about personal privacy and potential costs of a spike in DNA analysis requests.

Andy Hoover with the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania says his group has relaxed its opposition to the measure.

"In general, we would be very hesitant to support an initiative to collect personal data from people unless there was a very compelling reason to do so," he says.

State law already allows DNA to be taken from people convicted of crimes related to homicide and other sex offenses.

This measure expands that to include certain lower level crimes, like simple assault and theft.

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