AUSTIN (AP) – The Texas Senate has voted to strengthen prison inmates’ access to post-conviction DNA testing.

Texas DNA testing has exonerated about 40 former inmates in recent years, the most in the nation, according to the Innocence Project.

State law allows post-conviction DNA testing if certain requirements are met. The bill by Sen. Rodney Ellis of Houston requires testing if biological evidence was not previously tested, or if new techniques would give more accurate results.

It also requires any newly-discovered, unidentified DNA samples to be compared with a federal and state DNA databases.

A similar bill passed the Senate in 2009.

The bill now goes to the House for consideration.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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