Arizona is poised to become one of the first states to maintain a massive statewide DNA database.

According to the proposed bill, a wide array of volunteers and those in certain job classifications will have to submit samples of their DNA to build the biological library.

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.

The measure lists a broad range of people who would have to submit DNA samples:

  • A person who is required by law to submit fingerprints for purposes of identification as part of an application for licensure, certification or a permit or renewal of a license
  • A person whose employment or position requires fingerprinting for purposes of identification
  • A person who is employed or volunteering with a law enforcement agency
  • A person who, for any other reason, is required by law to submit fingerprints for purposes of identification
  • A deceased person
  • A person who is ordered by the court to submit DNA identification for purposes of proving or disproving familial relationships

There would be a $250 fee for sample processing as well. The impetus for this bill is the case of the comatose woman who gave birth and DNA testing of employees revealed it was a nurse who fathered the child.

The issue is triggering privacy concerns, as well as complaints about the fee.

Meanwhile, DNA evidence has been used to solve a decades-old cold case involving the brutal murder of an 11-year-old.

In July 1973, 11-year-old Linda Ann O’Keefe disappeared while walking home from school. The following day, her body was found among the cattails in Newport Beach’s scenic Back Bay.

The case remained cold until last year, when the police department tried a new tactic using social media. In a series of first-person tweets, detectives highlight details of Linda’s killing in hopes it would yield new clues. They called it Linda’s Story.

On Wednesday, a new chapter was added: The arrest of a Colorado man suspected in the girl’s slaying and identified through the use of genealogical DNA. Detectives said the break occurred after a snapshot profile of a possible suspect in the killing was generated from DNA evidence found at the crime scene.

The DNA samples used were part of the crime scene or as part of the formal investigation.

DNA-testing has its place. But forcing citizens to give samples to gain employment, and to pay a hefty fee to do so, is clearly an ill-conceived idea.

Truly, the government would get the last drop of blood from us if it could.

 
 
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