Bisson: Activist encourages to write state legislators

Do you own the rights to your body?

Charlene Bisson

It’s a philosophical debate that has various answers depending on one’s viewpoint.

The Arizona legislature considered Senate Bill 1475, also known as the DNA identification database bill, which could have mandated DNA testing for a broad range of occupations, including jobs already requiring fingerprinting. It failed in the Senate Rules Committee earlier this year. District 22 Sen. David Livingston (R-Peoria) sponsored the bill in the state’s Fifty-Fourth Legislature in response to Phoenix’s Hacienda Healthcare incident in which a licensed nurse practitioner allegedly impregnated a comatose patient.
The bill is dead so why am I addressing it now?

Liz Recchia, chair of the Peoria Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee, encourages people to act now, alerting your elected state officials on your beliefs for or against DNA testing. Tell your local Arizona leaders your thoughts on the matter before another bill is brought forward to the legislature in the future.

“This is a civil rights issue,” Ms. Recchia stressed.

Due to Ms. Recchia’s efforts early on, many business leaders opposed Senate Bill 1475 in its original form, requesting revisions that happened in updated drafts of the bill.

According to a story written by Independent Newsmedia’s Philip Haldiman, found on YourValley.net, the last bill presented to the Senate Rules Committee focused on jobs that involve caring for people with intellectual disabilities, and restricted DNA testing to those required by law to submit fingerprints for purposes of identification for a license or certificate.

In the article, Ms. Recchia explained there are many problematic issues with DNA storage ranging from numerous documented examples of DNA collection mistakes and transfer to mistaken DNA interpretation, leading to innocent people being convicted or giving up their right to a defense.
“From a law abiding citizen point of view, why should I be placed under constant surveillance when I have done nothing wrong? That looks a bit like guilty until proven innocent,” she stated. “Those of us who have licenses already go through numerous background checks, drug tests and assorted other investigations into our lives.”

Mr. Haldiman’s article further acknowledged opinion by Attorney Dan Barr who stated fingerprints should be more than adequate for jobs that require licensing, and that the previous version of the law would have essentially allowed the state to take DNA from people without probable cause.

“There are significant privacy issues that go beyond having fingerprints and I don’t understand the need for the state of Arizona to need the DNA of school teachers,” he said. “It’s hard enough to be a teacher in this state and now they want to take their DNA?”

Local legislators are:

  • District 8: Rep. David L. Cook, 602-926-5162, dcook@azleg.gov; Sen. Frank Pratt, 602-926-5761, fpratt@azleg.gov; and Rep. Thomas “T.J.” Shope Jr., Speaker Pro Tempore, 602-926-3012, tshope@azleg.gov.
  • District 16: Rep. Kelly Townsend, 602-926-4467, ktownsend@azleg.gov; Rep. John Fillmore, 602-926-3187, Jfillmore@azleg.gov; and Sen. David C. Farnsworth, 602-926-3020, dfarnsworth@azleg.gov.

Charlene Bisson
Publisher
Apache Junction/Gold Canyon Independent

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