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SB 725 would add to the list of offenses for which a person must pay court costs and add a provision that certain defendants placed on deferred adjudication community supervision would be required to pay a $34 court fee. The bill would also require people convicted of certain misdemeanors and felonies to pay the costs associated with DNA testing.
Most importantly, this bill would expand the circumstances under which the state may take a person's DNA sample and enter it into the national Combined DNA Information System (CODIS) database. Currently such samples may be collected and entered into the database upon conviction of certain felonies. This bill would expand that to include people simply arrested (but not yet convicted) of not only felonies but also a vast array of Class A and Class B misdemeanors.
SB 725 would expand the size and scope of government in a number of ways but most importantly by collecting DNA samples from people merely arrested but not yet convicted of a crime and entering those samples into a national database. This would be a violation of due process rights for defendants who should be presumed innocent and cost the taxpayers
As the fiscal note indicates: "Historical records indicate approximately 187,170 convicted offenders per year would be required to provide a DNA sample for testing. Of this amount, 173,198 offenders would be required to provide samples that are not required to do so under current law." This represents an increase of more than 1200%.
This massive new DNA collection proposal is a violation of due process rights, likely a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and a clear waste of taxpayer resources. The state should not be in the costly business of collecting DNA from possible misdemeanor offenders on the off chance that the DNA sample may tie them to a crime in the future.
For these reasons we oppose SB 725 on limited government and individual liberty grounds.
It is notable, however, that we supported HB 941 in the House which is not a companion to this bill but deals with a related topic. That bill passed the House and is under consideration in the Senate committee of jurisdiction as of 5/5/2015. That bill is a more circumspect way of handling the issues SB 725 seeks to address.