Legislation that would require suspects in various criminal cases to provide DNA samples to authorities is a step closer to becoming law now that it has cleared the State Senate. HB 152 would mandate that anyone arrested and charged with criminal offenses be swabbed for DNA samples.
Senator Matt Bartle (R-Lee’s Summit), the Senate sponsor, says that by allowing for the collection of DNA it will be easier to collect a database and then compare and contrast samples to unsolved crimes. As for concerns that DNA samples of innocent people might be kept, Bartle says safeguards are in place to dispose of the samples in certain circumstances.
"You could have an arrest and the prosecutor made no decision to prosecute," Bartle told Senate colleagues, adding this is not the only example of where the DNA would not be kept on file. Another example would be an arrest with charges dropped.
"The arrest is made, a charge is made, but later those charges are withdrawn by the prosecutor," said Bartle.
Another instance in which DNA would not be kept involves an acquittal.
"If there’s an arrest, there’s a prosecution," said Bartle. "But then there’s a finding of not guilty."
The legislation now returns to the House where that chamber can accept the bill with the changes made by the Senate or it can ask for a House-Senate conference to iron out the minor differences before the bill could be sent to Governor Jay Nixon.