Minnesota Wants to Pass Bill to Perform Familial DNA Searching
Filed under Testing on 3/18/2011 by Author: .

A Minnesota bill, HF 0981, introduced and written by State Representative Tony Cornish, would authorize but restrict familial searches to first- or second-degree murder, first- or second-degree criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping, missing persons, or other cases "involving an imminent threat to public safety."

The search could take place only after law enforcement has exhausted all other investigative leads. Under the bill, the state's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension would establish rules governing the familial DNA process. Minnesota may follow California and Colorado which are the only states to implement legislative rules to conduct such searches. Maryland and the District of Columbia ban it, and the FBI which runs the largest DNA database in the nation, the National DNA Index System (NDIS), doesn't allow such searches absent a congressional mandate.

But Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, the bill's chief supporter, said a dozen other states have used the technique without legislative approval.  On March 17, 2011, proponents and opponents had the opportunity to present their opinions on the Familial DNA Search Bill, in front of the House Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee.  The committee's chair, Rep. Tony Cornish, the bill's chief author, finished the meeting by stating the following: "Keep in mind, that this is a convicted-offender database that they are searching, and if it only solves two cases, which someone so flippantly referred to, I'm sure if one of those cases was your missing child, you'll take quite a different look at it."
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