For Immediate Release
A long-overdue modernization of the laws governing the collection and use of DNA technology to fight crimes in Pennsylvania, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-9), was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee today.
The legislation, Senate Bill 150, will allow law enforcement agencies to make better use of DNA evidence by requiring individuals arrested for serious crimes to submit DNA samples. The bill also authorizes a new type of DNA search to help identify suspects in unsolved crimes, strengthens privacy protections and requires DNA laboratories and technicians to meet national standards.
“Recent technological advances allow us to make much better use of DNA to solve crimes and make our neighborhoods safer,” said Senator Pileggi. “My bill will ensure that Pennsylvania’s criminal investigators have access to the most current and efficient scientific tools. Senate Bill 150 enjoys a broad base of support and I’m optimistic that it will become law early in this new legislative session.”
Senator Pileggi’s legislation will:
- Expand the eligible criminal offenses for which DNA testing is required;
- Require pre-conviction DNA testing for those arrested for certain serious offenses;
- Explicitly prohibit DNA samples from being used for anything other than legitimate law enforcement identification purposes;
- Require the immediate destruction of DNA records of exonerated individuals;
- Authorize the state police to use modified DNA searches to help investigators identify unknown DNA profiles taken at crime scenes;
- Codify accreditation requirements for forensic DNA testing laboratories; and
- Require continuing education for forensic DNA testing personnel.