Schiff hails House vote on DNA collection

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) this week applauded a vote by U.S House of Representatives to approve a bill that would award grants to states to implement DNA collection for people arrested for felonies.

Originally introduced in 2010, the bill bears the name of Katie Sepich, a college student who was raped and murdered in 2003 in New Mexico. Her attacker was arrested several times over the next few years but was never linked to Sepich’s murder because his DNA was not collected until 2006.

“Katie’s law is an important step we can take that will save lives,” Schiff said in a statement. “Every improvement that we make to our DNA system means more violent crimes solved and more violent felons taken off the street.”

The legislation establishes a program to provide grants to states that implement DNA collection for people arrested for murder, sexual assault, kidnapping, burglary and aggravated assault.

While the bill does not authorize new funding for the DNA program, it uses funds created from an existing law to reduce a backlog and specifies that up to $10 million in each fiscal year from 2013 to 2015 may be used as grants for states under the proposed new law.

-- Mark Kellam, Times Community News

Follow Mark Kellam on Twitter: @LAMarkKellam.

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