Disturbing Bill Would Force Arizonans to Pay $250 to Have Their DNA Added to a Database

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The boiling frog is a fable describing a frog being slowly boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is put suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out, but if the frog is put in tepid water which is then brought to a boil slowly, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability or unwillingness of people to react to or be aware of sinister threats that arise gradually rather than suddenly.
Rhett Jones
Feb 19, 2019 6:18pm

In case low salaries and thankless work weren’t enough to keep you from seeking a public service job in Arizona, a new bill seeks to force applicants to hand over a sample of their DNA and pay a $250 processing fee. The proposed legislation would apply to anyone in Arizona who is required to be fingerprinted for a job.

Bill 1475 was introduced by Republican State Senator David Livingston. According to the Arizona Republic, it has sparked a modest outcry from local individuals and organizations. If passed, the bill would require teachers, police officers, child day care workers, and many others to submit their DNA samples along with fingerprints to be stored in a database maintained by the Department of Public Safety. While the database would be prohibited from storing criminal or medical records alongside the DNA samples, it would require the samples be accompanied by the person’s name, Social Security number, date of birth and last known address.

The living will be required to pay for this invasion of their privacy, but any dead body that comes through a county medical examiner’s office would also be fair game to be entered into the database.

Gizmodo reached out to Livingston’s office to ask why he proposed this legislation and if any private companies stand to profit from it. We did not receive an immediate reply.

The Arizona Republic speculates that the bill could be related to a recent case in Phoenix where police were able to use DNA to link a nurse to the rape of an incapacitated woman at a local healthcare facility. Though DNA tests can be used for good, they’ve also been known to falsely implicate innocent people in crimes they didn’t commit. There are many other reasons you might want to think twice about submitting to a DNA test. Arizona’s bill would allow the sharing of DNA between government agencies in a handful of instances and access to the database could be supplied to anyone conducting “a legitimate research study.”

According to the Arizona Republic, many local workers’ organizations have come out to oppose the bill, including the the West Maricopa Association of Realtors and the Arizona Police Association.

The last time Rep. Livingston made headlines was in 2017 when he sponsored legislation that would make the contents of an insurance policy’s cover sheet and synopsis unenforceable if the long-form contract is different. According to the Arizona Capitol Times, one of Livingston’s fellow lawmakers questioned him on why he was bringing that legislation forward. Livingston reportedly said at the time that “citizens of the state of Arizona” had asked for it. When he was asked if those citizens were “connected to insurance agencies, companies, groups, special interests related to insurance,” Livingstone replied with a simple “yes.”

The Senate Transportation and Public Safety Committee is scheduled to hold a public hearing on Bill 1475 on Wednesday.