90 Miles From Tyranny : Arizona workers may soon have to give their DNA to the state and pay $250 for the privilege

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Arizona workers may soon have to give their DNA to the state and pay $250 for the privilege

Arizona could soon be one of the first states to maintain a massive statewide DNA database.

And if the proposed legislation passes, many people — from parent school volunteers and teachers to real estate agents and foster parents — will have no choice but to give up their DNA. 

There is no requirement for welfare recipients in the bill.

Under Senate Bill 1475, which Sen. David Livingston, R-Peoria, introduced, DNA must be collected from anyone who has to be fingerprinted by the state for a job, to volunteer in certain positions or for a myriad of other reasons.

The bill would even authorize the medical examiner's office in each county to take DNA from any bodies that come into their possession.

The Department of Public Safety would maintain the collected DNA alongside the person's name, Social Security number, date of birth and last known address.

Any DNA in the database could be accessed and used by law enforcement in a criminal investigation. It could also be shared with other government agencies across the country for licensing, death registration, to identify a missing person or to determine someone's real name.

It could also be provided to someone conducting "legitimate research."

A $250 fee could be collected from a person who submits biological samples, according to the bill. It's not clear who would foot the cost for the dead.

No other state does this

No other state has anything this expansive in place, according to David Kaye, an associate dean for research at Penn State University who studies genetics and its application in law.

Kaye said the proposed bill is one step away from requiring DNA from anyone who wants a driver's license.

Currently in Arizona, DNA is collected from anyone convicted of a felony or of a misdemeanor sex crime. If passed, the bill would expand the current database exponentially.

The proposed database appears to be focused on making it easier for law enforcement to use DNA in investigations, but Kaye said it's not targeting the right people to make a significant impact when it comes to solving cases.

Collecting DNA from the dead could solve some longstanding cold cases, while having DNA from law enforcement volunteers on file might weed out accidental crime scene contamination.

"It doesn’t seem like solving crimes is a big priority here," Kaye said. "It’s not focusing on the people most likely to be linked to crimes, it’s just spreading the...

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