Ohio Senate passes bill expanding DNA testing

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Ohio Senate has approved a bill that would expand DNA testing for convicted felons seeking to prove their innocence.

The bill is partially a response to a Columbus Dispatch investigation that found police and courts routinely discard evidence after trials, and prosecutors and judges often dismiss inmate applications for DNA testing without a stated reason.

The Senate voted 31-1 Wednesday to require anyone arrested for a felony offense starting in July 2011 to submit to DNA testing. The legislation also expands the categories of convicted felons eligible for DNA testing to include felons on parole who have already served a prison term, and felons convicted of a sexually oriented offense.

The bill removes a requirement that felons serving a prison sentence have at least one year remaining to file for DNA testing.

The bill must now be taken up by the House.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)