by Jason Erickson, Activist Post:
Apparently emboldened by President Trump’s recent signing of the Rapid DNA Act, Arizona could be the first to make DNA collection mandatory for a wide range of reasons under a proposed bill.
As constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead has expertly detailed, the thought of the government accessing DNA after an arrest, but before a conviction, is horrific enough:
Get ready, folks, because the government— helped along by Congress (which adopted legislation allowing police to collect and test DNA immediately following arrests), President Trump (who signed the Rapid DNA Act into law), the courts (which have ruled that police can routinely take DNA samples from people who are arrested but not yet convicted of a crime), and local police agencies (which are chomping at the bit to acquire this new crime-fighting gadget)—is embarking on a diabolical campaign to create a nation of suspects predicated on a massive national DNA database.
In addition to the police scenarios outlined above, Arizona’s plan reaches much further than that. Anyone who is a state employee (or even licensed in some way by the state), or come into the hands of the state, could fall under its mandatory program — and people who have their DNA solicited might be asked to pay $250 on top of the violation.
From AZ Central (USA Today).
And if the proposed legislation passes, many people — from parent school volunteers and teachers to real estate agents and foster parents — will have no choice but to give up their DNA.
Under Senate Bill 1475, which Rep. 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.
It could also be provided to someone conducting “legitimate research.”
A $250 fee could be collected from a person who submits biological samples, according to the bill.
As rightly pointed out by David Kaye, dean for research at Penn State University, given the framework outlined above, what would prevent the state from demanding DNA from anyone with a driver’s license?
Fortunately, there appears to be major opposition against this proposal:
Liz Recchia, director of government affairs for the West Maricopa Association of Realtors, said the organization is against the bill. She urged readers in an industry blog to “brace themselves” before looking at the bill.
“It isn’t very often a bill at the state Legislature affects so many Arizonan’s civil rights in such an onerous manner,” Recchia wrote.
Dozens of individuals and organizations have registered in opposition to the bill, including the Arizona Police Association, the Arizona Mortgage Lenders Association, the Arizona Association of Realtors and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Arizona.
The proposal on its face appears to flat-out contradict current employee rights laws, but when has that ever stopped gross overreach by government agencies? Hopefully this one hits the dustbin of history and is not seen as another move of the Overton window toward acceptability for such intrusion into the lives of innocent people.
A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, February 20 – we will provide any updates as they become available.