NY Senate passes DNA testing expansion bill

The DNA Databank Expansion Bill cleared its first hurdle today when the state Senate approved legislation that would require all those convicted on Penal Law crimes, including misdemeanors, to submit their DNA to the state databank. Currently, convicted felons and those convicted of about three dozen specific misdemeanors must give a DNA sample to authorities, typically a cheek swab. The bill would cover convictions of all charges, expect for misdemeanor counts of driving while intoxicated and other traffic misdemeanors.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in a written statement, called the bill “an important step in protecting New Yorkers and modernizing the state’s criminal justice system. This critical crime fighting resource embraces technology to help protect the innocent and convict the guilty.”

Cuomo urged the state Assembly to pass the bill so he could sign it into law immediately.

NY court administrators want 41-62% pay raises for judges

This will certainly spark some interesting discussions.

The New York Office of Court Administration, after laying off more than 500 court employees this year to close a $170 million, is now asking the state to increase judges’ salaries from $136,700 to at least $192,218 — or as high as $220,836.

Their argument is that NY judges haven’t had a raise since Jan. 1, 1999, and now are making less than some of their staff. They also say that NY judges are among the lowest paid in the nation, which is driving many out of the judiciary and into law officers, where they can easily make more money. Those arguments may not convince the 508 court employees who lost their jobs, or the droves of New York taxpayers whose salaries don’t come close to approaching $136,700.

The Special Commission on Judicial Compensation will recommend a judicial salary later this year, and unless state lawmakers try to block it, that recommendation will be reflected in judges’ paychecks.