DNA analysis costs, funding at issue in Pa. Senate
Pennsylvania's Senate majority leader is dismissing State Police warnings that expanding DNA collection from suspects would stress public labs unless they get more funding.
State Police have told lawmakers the agency will need more money to implement legislation increasing the workload for public labs processing DNA analysis requests.
But GOP Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, who authored the measure, is second-guessing their concern.
"I've heard requests for more funding by the staff that operates our forensic laboratories," he said. "I'm not certain that their analysis is the most unbiased analysis as to how much additional funding they would need."
The legislation would allow law enforcement to collect DNA from those arrested on charges of serious crimes before any conviction.
State Police estimate dealing with the expected surge in request for analysis would cost $7 million a year, not including the time and money it would take to build a new laboratory to handle the additional work.
Such concerns shouldn't stymie the bill, which passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support, said Pileggi of Delaware County.
"Whether it's $3 million, $5 million, $7 million, $9 million -- we have a $28 billion-plus budget. Everyone agrees that utilization of this technology prevents serious sexual offenses, serious assaults, and homicides. Everyone agrees with that," he said. "So how to put a price tag on that, I don't even think that's a conversation that we should be having."
The measure is expected to get a vote in a House committee this week.