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Capitol Roundup: DNA Testing, Foster Care Bills Introduced

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert speaks at a news conference Thursday at the state Capitol in support of a DNA collection bill.

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

DNA Collection Bill Would Reverse Part Of Prop 47

A new bill at the state Capitol would once again allow Californian law enforcement to collect DNA evidence from people convicted of misdemeanors – not just felonies. That would reverse a provision in Proposition 47, which voters approved last fall.

Because Prop 47 converted some drug, property and theft crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, 250,000 past offenders whose crimes were downgraded could now have their DNA samples taken out of the system. That’s because current law only allows DNA to be collected in felony cases.

Law enforcement groups want to change that. Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert points to the case of Sophia McAllister, whose rapist and murderer was found through DNA testing 20 years later when he was arrested on a low-level drug possession charge.

“That crime today, as a result of Prop 47, is a misdemeanor. But back in 2009, it was collected. And but for that collection of DNA, Mrs. McAllister’s case would never have been solved,” Schubert says. 

The ACLU, was a leading supporter of Prop 47, says it’s reviewing the bill but doesn’t yet
have an official position.


Bill Would Move California Foster Kids From Group Homes to Families

A California lawmaker is proposing an overhaul of the state’s foster care placement system, with the backing of Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration.

Asm. Mark Stone (D-Santa Cruz) says his measure would make group homes temporary destinations – rather than permanent homes – for kids who need help and services.

“What we're doing is trying to move kids out of group homes – where we have very negative outcomes overall – into foster care systems where we have better-trained, better-equipped foster parents, foster families,” Stone says. 

The legislation would implement recommendations from a state Department of Social Services report released last month.

The governor’s January budget proposal includes nearly $10 million to recruit and train new foster families, and increase pay for social workers in the foster care system.

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio