Legislature OKs bill requiring DNA samples from all Florida inmates

The bill's sponsor estimates 40-50% of Florida inmates have not provided DNA samples.

An untold number of unsolved crimes in the Sunshine State could finally have answers through legislation heading to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk.

HB 533, which lawmakers passed unanimously, will require that any inmate who doesn’t already have DNA in the state’s database to provide a sample by Sept. 30.

The bill itself would add just one paragraph to Florida Statutes. But it could make a big difference for the state’s criminal justice system, according to Spring Hill Republican Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, its Senate sponsor.

State law already requires many individuals arrested or convicted of certain offenses to submit DNA samples, including those charged with sexual assault, indecent exposure, murder, robbery, kidnapping, battery, burglary, felony firearm violations and theft.

The DNA information collected goes into a database for cross reference. Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) officials say it leads to more than 4,500 hits yearly in unsolved crimes.

But according to Ingoglia, close to half of Florida’s inmates have never given DNA samples.

“This will now allow FDLE to go and get them,” Ingoglia said, “which hopefully may solve some old cold cases.”

The bill, which Ingoglia called “simple” but “very important,” passed unanimously on the Senate floor Thursday. House lawmakers gave it similar approval when sponsor Tom Fabricio, a Miami Lakes Republican, ushered it to passage last month.

HB 533 and its Senate twin (SB 524) will have no fiscal impact on FDLE or Department of Corrections budgets, a House staff analysis determined.

It would be a boon to legislation (SB 350, HB 837) Tamarac Sen. Rosalind Osgood and Miami Gardens Rep. Christopher Benjamin, both Democrats, sponsored this year to ease reinvestigations of unsolved murders.

The Senate version of the legislation cleared one committee with uniform support in January before stalling out. The House version never got heard.

According to Project: Cold Case, a Jacksonville-based nonprofit, there were 57,181 homicides in Florida from 1965 to 2021. Of those, 19,549 remain unsolved.


Jacob Ogles contributed to this report.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Tom

    March 7, 2024 at 2:32 pm

    Makes perfect sense. Solving some of those cold case might be closure for folks.

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  • Dont Say FLA

    March 8, 2024 at 9:52 am

    How about also collecting DNA from all elected officials and lobbyists too? After all, lobbyists and their politicians are in a much strong position than any ex-con for committing big crime.

    And maybe require disclosure of lobbyist and politician income taxes too. They certainly won’t mind sharing their taxes with the public.

    They won’t mind sharing their tax forms with the public unless they have something to hide, of course, but what politician or lobbyist has anything to hide?

Comments are closed.


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