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Pa. Senate Passes Bill Expanding Use Of DNA Evidence

(The state capitol in Harrisburg.  File photo)

(The state capitol in Harrisburg. File photo)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Harrisburg Bureau Chief Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – The state Senate has passed and sent to the House a bill to expand the use of DNA evidence in Pennsylvania.

One key change under the bill would be a requirement that people accused of serious crimes have DNA samples taken upon arrest, not after conviction. The measure also expands the list of offenses for which DNA collection is required. The bill is sponsored by Chester Republican Dominic Pileggi, the Senate majority leader.

Civil liberties advocates say it’s an invasion of privacy, but Pileggi’s spokesman says there are safeguards in the legislation, “Anybody who is not convicted  – their DNA records will be automatically expunged from the system. Folks who believe that they might have DNA in the database for some incorrect reason – they can apply for expungement.”

Arneson says the bill updates Pennsylvania law to ensure that investigators have access to the most efficient scientific tools to fight crime.

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