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Bill to Ease Post-Conviction DNA Testing Access

The state senate in Oregon unanimously passed a bill that would make it easier for people convicted of crimes to initiate DNA testing, the Associated Press reports. It adds the courts in Oregon deny the majority of post-conviction motions for DNA testing.

According to Steven Wax, legal director of the Oregon Innocence Project, which backed the bill, if the bill becomes law, it would enable those convicted to know what evidence remains in police inventory. That way, he tells the AP, they and their lawyers would know if what they are petitioning to have tested is still available. In addition, Wax tells the AP that the bill would also remove a requirement he called "illogical" that petitioners demonstrate innocence before DNA testing can take place.

The AP adds that Oregon Department of Justice officials say the bill's goal is commendable, but relies on untested language.

The bill now goes before the Oregon House of Representatives, according to the AP.