Pa. House narrows proposed changes to Pa. DNA-collection law

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    The Pennsylvania House has scaled back a measure that aims to redefine how law enforcement can collect DNA samples in the state.

    A measure before the full House would have allowed police and prosecutors to collect the DNA of suspects who had been arrested in connection with — but not yet convicted of — certain crimes.

    The House has scrubbed that part of the bill, which now allows DNA collection only after conviction. The changes address concerns about privacy and potential costs of a spike in DNA analysis requests.

    Andy Hoover with the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania said his group has relaxed its opposition to the measure.

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    “In general, we would be very hesitant to support an initiative to collect personal data from people unless there was a very compelling reason to do so,” Hoover said.

    State law already allows DNA to be taken from people convicted of crimes related to homicide and other sex offenses. This measure expands that to include certain lower level crimes, such as simple assault and theft.

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