Bill would clarify DNA collection requirements

Senators gave first-round approval Jan. 11 to a bill that would change provisions relating to the collection of DNA samples from individuals convicted of a felony or other specified offense.

Bellevue Sen. Abbie Cornett, sponsor of LB66, said the measure was introduced to clarify implementation of a bill passed in 2010 requiring DNA samples to be collected from individuals placed on probation.

As introduced, the bill specifies that probation officers would be responsible for taking DNA samples from convicted felons who are placed on probation and would not enter into a prison, jail, detention facility or other institution.

An amendment to a pending Judiciary Committee amendment was offered by Cornett and adopted 34-0.

As amended, the bill specifies that in counties without a city of the metropolitan class, an individual not placed on probation who receives a fine or a penalty of time served would have a DNA sample collected by the county sheriff.

In addition, a county jail, detention facility or other institution that collects the sample would not be held financially responsible for the cost of the DNA sample kit if the court waives the cost of taking a DNA sample for any reason.

The amendment also would provide a time frame for returning DNA samples to the Nebraska State Patrol for processing.

Cornett said the amended bill would clarify responsibility for collecting samples and assist efforts to include all convicted felons in the state’s DNA sample bank.

Following adoption of the committee amendment on a 35-0 vote, senators advanced LB66 to select file 34-0.

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