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Federal money may help expand Wisconsin's DNA data base

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UNDATED (WSAU)  Wisconsin Republicans who want to make criminal suspects give their D-N-A to the police when they’re arrested might get some help from the federal government. President Obama signed a bill last week that gives 10-million federal dollars to states that begin collecting D-N-A upon arrest. Police could add those samples to a database which helps investigators track down criminal suspects.

It’s not known when states can apply – or how much a state like Wisconsin could get. But Governor Scott Walker and Attorney General J-B Van Hollen say any federal money could help the state off-set the price-tag for the measure. Right now, the state collects D-N-A from convicted felons and sex offenders – and the new proposal would collect an extra 68,000 D-N-A samples each year at a cost of $7.2- for the first two years. Van Hollen has made waves by proposing that the new samples be funded by taking Justice Assistance grants away from things like gang-prevention efforts, school programs, and public defenders.

The A-C-L-U – which opposes collecting D-N-A samples from anyone who’s not convicted – says the new federal grants would only cover a little of the state’s expenses.

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