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DNA testing
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BYLINE: Emerson Lynn Jr.


Should Kansas legislators be charged with murder because they failed to give law enforcement officials the information they needed to stop a murderer before he killed?

Silly question.

Still, in mid-September, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation had a backlog of 38,000 samples from those who had been arrested for felonies awaiting testing. The DNA profiles had not been made and recorded because the KBI laboratory is that understaffed.

Which brings us back to the Legislature. The lab is understaffed because the KBI budget has been cut to the bone. Lawmakers say they cut the budget because the money isn’t there.

The money isn’t there because it hasn’t been raised. It is the sworn duty of the state’s representatives and senators to levy sufficient taxes to govern the state well. By refusing to provide the KBI enough money to do DNA testing, legislators have shirked that duty.

The reason for creating DNA profiles on those arrested for felonies is to give law enforcement the tools it needs to take DNA from the scene of a crime and check it against the state’s collection of profiles taken from a group of reasonable suspects. When a match is found an arrest can be made and society can be protected against a potentially dangerous person.

Withholding the funds needed to better protect Kansans isn’t a crime. But it is another example of the false economies our elected representatives are making in dealing with the recession.

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