TALLAHASSEE — Some people arrested on a felony charge in Florida may soon have to give some spit to authorities.
Gov. Charlie Crist signed a measure (SB 2276) Tuesday requiring people arrested for a felony to provide DNA, usually a sample taken by swabbing the inside of a person's cheek.
Under the new law, officials would phase in the collection of DNA over approximately a decade with certain types of felony arrests being added each year, like burglary one year and kidnapping the next.
Florida's DNA database currently has more than 500,000 samples. But the bill would be a huge expansion.
However, opponents to the legislation say demanding DNA before a conviction violates an individual's constitutional rights and that Florida's law is likely to face a court challenge.
“This is a major overstep by our government,” said Howard Simon, executive director of ACLU of Florida. “There will inevitably be a security breach when, for example, innocent people are denied a job, insurance coverage or medical benefits because of information in their DNA.”
Forty six states now require people convicted of a felony to provide a DNA sample.
Gov. Crist inked several other public safety bills into law during a sweltering signing ceremony outside the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles headquarters building Tuesday morning.
“Nothing is more important to the quality of life of our people than to ensure the safety of our neighborhoods and provide our law enforcement officers the tools they need to continue protecting our people,” Crist said.
Bill SB 1312 requires police to notify rape victims of their legal rights and remedies and offer other aide at the time of investigation. The legislation is based on an existing law that requires police to offer similar notices and aid to victims of domestic violence. It is designed to ensure victims are aware of their rights and improves their access to crisis intervention centers.
There are 31 rape crisis centers across Florida.
Crist also signed a bill (HB 115) to expand Florida's jurisdiction to prosecute sex offenders who transmit harmful material via computer or electronic devices to minors living outside the state or travel to meet a minor to engage in unlawful sexual behavior.
It also toughens registration reporting requirements for sexual predators and offenders to include home and cellular telephone numbers and encourages public libraries to adopt an Internet safety education program.
The new laws all take effect July 1.