In one of the few criminal justice bills to be acted on by either side of Congress so far this year, the House of Representatives last week passed a measure to increase federal anticrime funding under the Byrne JAG program for states that create DNA databases for those arrested for violent crimes, burglary and aggravated assault. States that set up such databases would get additional funding of 5 or 10 percent of a state’s regular allocation, depending on the extent of the database, says the National Criminal Justice Association. Twenty-two states already have arrestee DNA databases, says the National District Attorneys Association.
The original bill included a penalty for states that did not set up an arrestee database. The penalty provision was withdrawn, however, before the bill went to the floor. The bill passed without the opportunity for amendment by a vote of 357-32. Some civil libertarians oppose the idea; the only “no” votes were cast by Republicans.