by Countable | 2.21.19
What’s the story?
- An Arizona state legislator had proposed a law that would have forced many residents to provide samples of their DNA to a state database where it would be stored with their name, birth date, Social Security Number, and last known address.
What was in the original bill?
- Senate Bill 1475, introduced by Sen. David Livingston (R-Peoria), would require DNA to be collected from any Arizonan who has to be fingerprinted for a job and volunteers for certain positions.
- The bill “would even authorize the medical examiner's office in each county to take DNA from any bodies that come into their possession,” wrote The Arizona Republic.
What are both sides saying?
- After public outcry, the bill was amended to only require DNA samples from “from professionals who care for patients with intellectual disabilities in an intermediate care facility.”
- Livingston explained that the initial bill came to his desk following the scandal at Hacienda Healthcare—a woman in a vegetative state gave birth to a child on December 29th in a Phoenix assisted-living home.
"That bill got my attention," he said. "Why did it get my attention? Sexual assault. Abuse. Rape. Unacceptable. This [Arizona Senate committee) needs to do something about it."
- Sen. Lupe Contreras (D-Avondale) described the bill — even in its newest form — as a "stepping stone into madness."
- Liz Recchia, director of government affairs for the West Maricopa Association of Realtors had urged readers of her blog to “brace themselves” before looking at the bill.
“Senator Livingston, you and I 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. He does not join a society or form a government in order to lose those rights.”
- A DPS spokesman told the Republic that the department doesn't comment on pending legislation.
- Currently, Maryland is considering legislation that would prohibit the use of DNA databases to solve crime.
What do you think?
Do you support a DNA database? Is it a way to curb sexual assault and bring perpetrators to justice? Or is it a violation of privacy? Take action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.
(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / SusanneB)