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Advocates are pushing a ballot measure and legislation to expand DNA collection and testing. But in the case of DNA collection, it has met resistance from civil libertarians who question whether such government intrusion by collecting personal genetic information is warranted for minor offenses.

“It’s been a struggle to bring DNA in California to the forefront” as a forensic crime-scene investigation tool, Bruce Harrington said at last week’s news conference announcing the arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo, who allegedly killed Harrington’s brother Keith and sister-in-law in 1980.

Harrington met with what he called a “buzz-saw of opposition” in the Legislature in the 1990s over his efforts to get California to create a DNA database. Ultimately, voters in 2004 approved Proposition 69, which required DNA collection from all felons. California now maintains the largest state DNA database in the country and the third largest in the world.

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