People convicted of certain misdemeanors and illegal immigrants arrested for any crime will have to provide a DNA sample under a bill signed into law Wednesday.
Gov. Brad Henry said the measure is intended to help law officers solve cold cases of violent crimes.
Senate Bill 1102 expands the list of crimes for which convicted criminals must submit DNA samples to a database kept by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. It takes effect immediately, although implementation depends on the OSBI getting a federal grant to pay the estimated cost of about $831,000 to process the additional samples added each year to the database.
Oklahoma already takes DNA samples from everyone convicted of a felony. Results are placed in a national database to be used to solve other crimes.
The measure often is called Juli’s Law, named for Juli Busken, a University of Oklahoma student whose 1996 murder was eventually solved when DNA recovered after the killing matched that of a man convicted of an unrelated crime.
The governor said misdemeanors often lead to violent crimes.
"DNA evidence has revolutionized criminal investigations and law enforcement’s ability to enact justice,” he said.
"This measure will be a powerful tool in solving such horrific crimes like murder and rape.”
Rep. Lee Denney, who has worked the past several years to require more people to provide DNA samples to law officers, called the new law a step in the right direction.
"Expansion of the database is going to keep Oklahoma safe because we’re going to keep criminals from continuing their serial criminal life,” said Denney, R-Cushing.