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Rapid DNA Act Signed Into Law

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – President Donald Trump on Friday signed into law the Rapid DNA act, legislation that broadens the ability of law enforcement to use rapid DNA analysis technology and upload resulting data into a federal database.

The legislation "represents a bipartisan effort four years in the making," Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who sponsored the bill, said in a statement. "It empowers our local law enforcement officers … to protect our communities and keep criminals off the streets."

The new law updates the DNA Identification Act of 1994 to authorize criminal justice agencies to upload profiles generated using rapid DNA analysis instruments to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). Previously, access to CODIS was restricted to DNA records generated at an accredited crime lab.

The Rapid DNA act also directs the FBI to issue standards procedures for the use of DNA analysis instruments and the use of resulting data, and authorizes the FBI to waive the current requirement that samples collected from federal or Washington DC offenders be sent to the FBI for processing in certain cases.

Notably, the law does not affect when or how DNA samples are collected, or the type of information uploaded to CODIS. It also restricts access to CODIS to law enforcement agencies using rapid DNA instruments approved by the FBI, and in compliance with standards and procedures issued by the FBI.

The act was supported by a number of law enforcement organizations including the Peace Officers Research Association of California, the National Association of Police Organizations, and the National Fraternal Order of Police.