New legislation working its way through the Arizona Senate would establish one of the country’s first statewide DNA databases in which wide swaths of residents would be forced to give up their genetic material.
State Senate Bill 1475, sponsored by Rep. David Livingston (R), would essentially collect DNA from anyone currently required to submit fingerprints, including teachers, safety inspectors, real-estate agents, anyone in law enforcement, and appraisers. Anyone who dies will also have their DNA collected and stored under the bill.
Meanwhile, a $250 fee would be collected from people submitting biological samples under the bill.
The DNA database would be maintained by the Department of Public Safety, which would include a person’s name, social security number, date of birth and last known address – and could be accessed and used by law enforcement for investigations. The database can also be shared with other government agencies across the country for the purposes for “employment, licensing, death registration, missing persons identification,” and IDing people using aliases or multiple identities, reports AZ Central.
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. –AZ Central
DNA is currently collected from anyone convicted in Arizona of a felony or a misdemeanor sex crime.
“It doesn’t seem like solving crimes is a big priority here,” says David Kaye. “It’s not focusing on the people most likely to be linked to crimes, it’s just spreading the net more broadly.”
The bill has been widely opposed by Arizona residents, including the West Maricopa Association of Realtors, who voiced their opposition last week, suggesting that Livingston “would do well to read Thomas Paine’s “Rights of Man”. His premise is as true today as it was 250 years ago: Man is given natural rights as part of his existence.