Mr. CANADY of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 4640) to make grants to States for carrying out DNA analyses for use in the Combined DNA Index System of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to provide for the collection and analysis of DNA samples from certain violent and sexual offenders for [Page: H8573]
use in such system, and for other purposes, as amended.
Mr. CANADY of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on the bill now under consideration.
Mr. SCOTT. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000. This bill represents a compilation of the fine effort by several of our colleagues to address the DNA analysis backlog that has accumulated at laboratories all over the country.
Earlier we conducted in the Subcommittee on Crime hearings on three DNA backlog elimination bills introduced by the gentleman from New York (Mr. GILMAN), the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. STUPAK), the gentleman from Rhode Island (Mr. KENNEDY) and members of the Committee on the Judiciary, the gentleman from New York (Mr. WEINER) and the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. CHABOT).
Elimination of the DNA analysis backlog would be a significant step forward in having our criminal justice system more accurately dispense justice. Not only will it greatly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of our criminal justice systems throughout the country, but it would also save lives by allowing apprehension and detention of dangerous individuals while eliminating the prospects that innocent individuals would be wrongly held for crimes that they did not commit.
At the same time, I think it is important to recognize that with this expansion comes the increased likelihood that DNA samples and analyses may be misused. We must be ever mindful of our responsibility to protect the privacy of this DNA information, ensuring that it be used only for law enforcement purposes.
To that end, I was pleased that the Committee on the Judiciary agreed to an amendment that would impose criminal penalties for anyone who uses DNA samples or analyses for purposes not designated by the law enforcement officials.
I am also grateful that the majority provided for the expungement of DNA information on individuals whose convictions have been overturned on appeal.
In addition to the criminal penalties for misuse of DNA, I believe that we should encourage each State to develop a specific security protocol to prevent misuse of such samples, since the DNA does include sensitive personal information. This approach will be the only way to ensure that DNA analysis will not be used for unlawful purposes.
This legislation is a positive step for law enforcement, but I am disappointed that it does not include any requirement on States to provide access to DNA testing to convicted persons who did not have the opportunity for DNA testing at the time of their trial. I am hoping that the next Congress will consider additional legislation which would ensure that funds provided for H.R. 4640 might be made available to provide persons who want to prove that they were wrongfully convicted.
Nevertheless, Mr. Speaker, I am very aware of the benefits of this legislation. In fact, through his outstanding work in Virginia, Dr. Paul B. Ferrara, Virginia's Director of the Division of Forensic Sciences, has led efforts in this country on the use of DNA for criminal justice purposes. That is why I am pleased to be a cosponsor of this legislation and urge my colleagues to support the bill.