I want to thank the state’s media, including MaineToday Media, for providing coverage on March 27 of my first bill as a state legislator.

My proposal would require that persons arrested and charged with a sex crime against a child or other serious crime submit to DNA sampling.

Collecting DNA evidence does not just help to solve crimes; it also helps to prevent crime.

The perfect example of this can be found in the recent arrest of the man who has been sending threatening letters to Gov. Paul LePage.

The man was caught after DNA from the stamp on the letter matched DNA from a federal crime for which he was arrested in 2005.

The man was not convicted for that crime, but his DNA remained on file.

DNA evidence makes it difficult to be a successful criminal. That’s OK with me.

Here are some facts that convinced me we need to commit to DNA testing when people are arrested and charged with violent crimes:

* Since 1974, more than 90 percent of all state prisoners have been repeat offenders (www.dnasaves.org/)

* 70 percent of America’s crime is committed by 6 percent of its criminals (“Bright Lines, Dark Deeds: Counting Convictions Under the Armed Career Criminal Act” by James E Hooper, Michigan Law Review, Vol. 89, 1991)

* Since DNA testing of people arrested for violent crimes has been required since 2003, Virginia has received more than 5,000 hits on its database. (www.dfs.virginia.gov/statis tics/index.cfm)

* 1 out of every 6 American women have been the victims of an attempted or completed rape (www.rainn.org/ get-information/statistics/sexual-as sault-victims)

* To date, post-conviction DNA testing has led to the exoneration of more than 200 wrongfully convicted individuals in the United States, and many of these individuals were not fully exonerated until after a DNA match was made on the database to another offender (www.innocenceproject.org)

* 24 states have enacted legislation to require DNA from suspects arrested and charged with certain felonies, and even more states are considering such laws (www.dnaresource.com)

Who will pay for the DNA testing? The proposal calls for criminals convicted of a violent felony to pay an extra penalty. This is reasonable because crime should not pay, and criminals should pay.

Stories about crimes that have been solved with the help of DNA testing of persons who were arrested for a previous crime and the innocent people it has exonerated can be found at www.dnasaves.org/.

It is important to note that this bill has bipartisan support.

Two mandatory co-sponsors are Sen. Tom Martin, R-Waterville, and Rep. Ben Chipman, U-Portland. They authored a bill nearly identical to mine; I simply submitted mine first.

The list of other co-sponsors is long with both Democrats and Republicans on the Criminal Justice Committee signing on and including the Senate co-chairmen.

With this bipartisan support, I am confident we can send a message: Maine is not open for crime.

Rep. Maeghan Maloney, D-Augusta, is the author of the bill to mandate DNA testing for all violent felony arrests.

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