President Barack Obama on Thursday signed into law Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D-CA) legislation that provides funding for the collection of suspects' DNA in cases that involve murder, sexual assault, kidnapping, burglary and aggravated assault.
Schiff, who represents West Hollywood, introduced The Katie Sepich Enhanced DNA Collection Act in 2010. The House of Representatives and Senate passed the bill in December.
"Katie’s Law" bears the name of Katie Sepich, a college student who was raped and murdered eight years ago in New Mexico. Her attacker was arrested several times over subsequent years but was never linked to Katie’s murder because his DNA wasn't collected until 2006.
"Just as we fingerprint arrestees and those convicted of crimes, it makes absolute sense to collect a DNA profile when someone is arrested for a violent felony, and this bill will encourage states around the nation to join California and other states that have adopted arrestee testing," Schiff said in a statement.
"We are so grateful for the support of our primary sponsors, Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. David Reichert (R-WA) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) who worked so tirelessly to support this bill and see it enacted," Jayann Sepich, Katie's mother, said in the statement from Schiff's office.
The law provides $10 million annually from 2013-15 to states that initiate DNA collection programs.
"With 33 years of experience in law enforcement, I can attest to the importance of DNA evidence," Reichert said in a statement. "This bill aids law enforcement officers in their criminal investigations, protecting both the community and the innocent."
Schumer's office also put out a press release in which he's quoted as saying: "By spreading this technology to states across the country, we can make cities and streets safer for our families, and dramatically reduce the cost of fighting crime."
The federal government and 25 states currently record the DNA of persons arrested for violent crimes.