Legislation allowing police to collect DNA samples from anyone they arrest for a felony took a step closer to becoming law.
Backers of the legislation say DNA collection will help identify the guilty and exonerate the innocent.
Under the bill, if a person is arrested but not charged within one year, the DNA record can be expunged. The same is true if charges are dismissed or the person is acquitted.
The biggest differences between the bill approved by the House and an earlier version deals with how those samples are expunged. Rep. Steuerwald (R-Danville), the bill’s sponsor, says if a person wants their DNA record expunged, they only need to send a letter or form to the prosecutor.
“And they put the burden on the prosecuting attorney to file the case with the court to get the order of expungement. And I think that’s a really good change – it’s mandatory,” Steuerwald says.
Despite 13 votes against it on the House floor, no one spoke against the bill. It now heads back to the Senate.