AZ Senate passes bill allowing police to gather DNA samples for felony arrests

By Greg Hahne
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Published: Thursday, June 9, 2022 - 11:13am

A bill that would allow police to collect DNA samples from those arrested for felonies passed the Arizona Senate by a 20-8 vote on Wednesday. 

The move follows talks from Jayann Sepich whose daughter was murdered in New Mexico in 2003. She has pushed states to pass legislation to expand the tools police have to solve cases. 

Most senators were swayed by arguments that 18 other states have similar laws, and that such rules could lead to cold cases being solved. 

Still that didn’t convince senators like Michelle Ugenti-Rita. 

"If you want to pass things because the ends justify the means, then that's exactly what you're going to do in this case. But this violates people's privacy. Just upon an arrest you are going to get their DNA? That is so dangerous. You want their DNA? Go get a warrant and use the process," Ugenti-Rita said. 

While Democratic Sen. Victoria Steele said she understands how DNA can be misused by authorities, she said the proposal makes sense.

"The fact is, every day innocent people are needlessly violated, raped, murdered, shot, knifed by repeat offenders. We have the technology now to help prevent some of that," Steele said. 

The bill now goes to the House of Representatives.

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