Proposed law seeks DNA from suspects before conviction - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Proposed law seeks DNA from suspects before conviction

By Roslyn Giles  - email | bio

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Freshman State Senator Josh McKoon, Columbus –(R), hit the ground running when he entered the Georgia Legislature in Atlanta for a first term in office. 

McKoon authored a bill that passed the Senate 39-13 requiring law enforcement agencies to collect DNA from suspects arrested on felony charges.   

The DNA samples would then be entered into a database to help identify suspects in future cases.  Under the current law, oral swabs can be used to collect DNA after a suspect has been convicted of a crime.

McKoon said, "There are some loopholes in the current laws, for example, people convicted of felonies who are not incarcerated are not having their DNA taken—not to mention the vast population of felony arrestees who we are not taking their DNA samples of now.  Also, there are those 24 states that are closing a number of cold cases and putting violent criminals behind bars.   That is an important function of government I'd say the most important function of government—that's what we're trying to do it SB 80," explained McKoon.

Three DNA related bills also introduced in the House did not make it out of committee in the House. Now, SB-80 is heading to the House for approval.  "I feel good about our changes. BJ Pack a former federal prosecutor is helping lead the charge over there. We got a lot of victims rights advocates like Joan Barry who lost her daughter in a tragic murder case that was solved by this new law in the state of Tennessee," added McKoon.

They plan to push it hard over the next couple of weeks said McKoon in hopes of getting the measure through the House and on the Governor for his signature.

McKoon also voted against allowing the Sunday alcohol sales bill. A vote he told us wasn't easy for him.  "My predecessor, former Senator Seth Harp, whom I trust and respect very much supported the bill during his terms, but because studies show Sunday sales are directly related  to an increase in vehicle accidents and deaths, I did not want to put peoples' lives in jeopardy.

Another bill McKoon introduced relating to the hotel motel tax, an ongoing battle between Columbus and other cities and online travel agencies, did not make it a committee.

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