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House Subcommittee Mistakenly Cuts Key Misdemeanor from DNA Collection Bill

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The House subcommittee accidentally struck the wrong misdemeanor The House subcommittee accidentally struck the wrong misdemeanor
Susan Graham speaking to the Senate Courts of Justice Committee Susan Graham speaking to the Senate Courts of Justice Committee
RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) -

The mother of former University of Virginia student Hannah Graham is confused and upset after a subcommittee made changes to a bill on Thursday, February 8, that could have caught her daughter's killer if it was enacted sooner.

The bill aims to expand DNA collection for certain misdemeanor convictions, but that list of misdemeanors is shrinking due to budget cuts.

Sue Graham testified Thursday afternoon, saying if a bill like this was around prior to 2014, her daughter's killer might have been in jail and her daughter, Hannah, would still be alive.

That's why she was shocked when criminal trespass was mistakenly left off the bill.

The House Committee on Appropriations met earlier Thursday to discuss the potential law. The original proposal featured seven different misdemeanor convictions that would allow for DNA testing - meaning repeat offenders would already be in the system if they're caught another time.

Due to budget restraints, four of those misdemeanors had to be taken off the bill. Delegate David Toscano says they made a mistake in terms of which three to keep.

“We would've preferred seven misdemeanors put in there, but the budget just won't allow that - so we had to pick and choose which misdemeanors we had to put in and they simply didn't get it right - not before this subcommittee,” says Toscano.

Toscano says the bill will be amended to include criminal trespassing, and that could be fixed by as early as Friday, February 9.

The full vote on that House bill will in the next couple of days, and they'll find out if there's enough money in the budget to fund the bill in about a week. A similar Senate bill is in the works as well.