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Felony Arrestee DNA Collection Bill Heads To Governor's Desk

Legislation allowing police to take DNA from anyone arrested for a felony is on its way to the governor’s desk.

The Senate advanced the bill after a lengthy debate about its constitutionality.

Proponents of the measure argue that taking a DNA sample from an arrestee is the same as taking their mugshot or fingerprints. And Sen. Aaron Freeman (R-Indianapolis) says that’s supported by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“When folks are arrested, you give your fingerprint. It is no different to put a cheek swab in somebody’s mouth and do the same thing,” Freeman says. “And the folks that are wrongfully arrested and wrongfully convicted are going to be shown the exit because they’re going to be released when they run that DNA sample.”

But Sen. Mike Young (R-Indianapolis) says there’s a big difference between taking a fingerprint and taking a DNA sample.

“No matter what they say, this is not for identification – this is for investigation. Our Constitution’s pretty clear that you can’t go and take things from people without a warrant to conduct an investigation,” Young says.

Despite Young and others’ arguments, the Senate voted 36 to 13 to send the bill to the governor.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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