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The governor has signed a bill that would expand access to DNA testing for people hoping to prove they were wrongly convicted.

The new law no longer requires someone to be in prison to seek the testing and eases the standard that would allow for the DNA tests.

Oregon was one of the earliest states to adopt a post-conviction DNA testing law in 2001, but courts have granted only one request for the testing in the last 14 years.

"Oregon's statute had been one of the most restrictive. Now it's more consistent with what many other states have been doing,'' said Steve T. Wax, who has served as legal director of Oregon's Innocence Project since October after retiring from a 31-year career as Oregon's federal public defender.

Twenty-three of the nation's 330 wrongful convictions proven by DNA evidence involved people whose testing occurred after they served their time and were no longer locked up, according to Oregon's Innocence Project.

Oregon had no exonerations under the old law "because there just weren't any tests,'' Wax said.

Proponents of the...