DNA bill targets unsolved crimes

A bill sponsored by state Rep. Mark Miloscia of Federal Way could triple the size of the state’s DNA database and bring law enforcement closer to cracking unsolved crimes.

If the bill becomes law, it would require police, deputies or jail personnel to take a non-invasive DNA sample of everyone convicted of a felony. That includes people currently incarcerated.

Those DNA samples would then be entered into the State Patrol’s DNA identification system, where they could be compared against evidence gathered at scenes of still-unsolved crimes.

The system currently contains DNA samples of:

• Adults convicted of felony sex offenses.

• Adults convicted of felony violent offenses after July 1, 1990.

• Juveniles convicted of violent or sex offenses after July 1, 1994.

• And everyone imprisoned for violent or sex offenses after July 25, 1999.

Miloscia’s proposed legislation, Substitute House Bill 2468, would expand the system to include those convicted of any felony or one of several misdemeanors, including stalking, harassment and communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.

Under Miloscia’s proposal, DNA samples would be collected from convicts currently jailed for committing one of the newly included offenses prior to the bill’s passage. Once samples were collected, the director of the state’s Forensic Laboratory Services Bureau would prioritize them, with felony sex offenses and felony violent offenses getting first priority.

Testing the samples will be limited to available funding, though offenders will be required to pay a DNA collection fee, which is expected to provide some revenue for the service. The bill does not provide for additional state funding to process the expected 300 percent increase in DNA samples.

The bill passed out of the House of Representatives Rules Committee last week. Now, it must make it through the Senate Ways and Means and Senate Rules committees before going to Governor Gary Locke for final approval.

Miloscia (D-30th District) said he expects that if the bill becomes law, it would increase the DNA database by a factor of 10 over five years and would lead to some closure of unsolved cases.

“We’ll greatly expand the number of hits for trying to solve crimes,” he said. “It’ll help solve a lot of old crimes.”

Staff writer Erica Jahn can be reached at 925-5565 and

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