After lengthy debate, the NC House or Representatives voted in favor of HB 483 DNA Samples/Additional Felonies on Second Reading on Monday. The bill Returns to the House floor tomorrow for its third and final reading.
During debate, the obvious flaws with HB 483 were highlighted; its cost and the fact that the almost $70,000 estimated cost for 2011 and $123,000 for 2012 can't be covered in the current budget, the fact that most of the crimes listed have nothing to do with DNA, and its questionable constitutionality. Once again, Representative Bradley (R-Franklin) explained the liberty interests involved in taking DNA prior to conviction for a crime without a warrant, concluding his comments with the statement that the new crimes for which DNA will be collected "demonstrate that this is a slippery slope." Representative Glazier, a supporter of taking DNA on arrest, agreed with Representative Bradley stating, "this gets perilously close" to simply taking DNA on arrest for all crimes. He stated that, even were that something the General Assembly wished to do, it would be very costly and the State simply doesn't have the money now. In 2010, the ACLU-NC argued that HB 1403 Collect DNA Sample on Arrest was a slippery slope that could lead, one day, to taking DNA from all North Carolinians. HB 483 brings us one step closer to that day. Despite the lengthy arguments against the bill, it passed 73-44. The bill will be voted on in the House one final time tomorrow before moving to the Senate for consideration.