August 29, 2014

‘Biometric data’ collection bill gets committee nod

An Assembly committee has approved a bill prohibiting the collection of student DNA data. State Representative Mandy Wright is a Wausau Democrat who serves on the Assembly Education Committee. “There are a lot of people who are concerned about biometric data,” she said following Thursday’s 7-3 committee vote along party lines. “It does sound scary, but the fact is we are doing little to none of it right now.”

The bill from Representative Tom Larson (R-Colfax) would prevent school district officials from collecting biological information including fingerprints and retinal images from students. The legislation grew out of hearings on the Common Core education standards, although Wright says there’s no clear connection between the two. “If you listened to the testimony, there were a lot of people who were very concerned about that. I’m not saying that those are necessarily valid concerns, but I do think that we would not be hearing this bill if we had not gone down the path of listening to all the extreme concerns about Common Core,” Wright said.

The bill could be taken up by the Assembly next week, but there does not appear to be much interest in the state Senate.