Update in California: Governor Vetoes Rape Kit Bill

Governor Jerry Brown has returned Assembly Bill 322 to the California State Assembly without his signature. AB 322 would have established a two-and-a-half-year pilot program to test all rape kits in ten California counties that make arrests in fewer than 12% of reported forcible rapes.

Governor Brown explained his decision to veto the bill:

“I don’t see why we would mandate counties to participate in a program they don’t want, especially when the state is cutting back on so many programs that are needed and wanted. Local officials are in the best position to determine whether to participate in such a program.”

Due to budgetary constraints, the scope of the bill had narrowed considerably since its introduction by Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-Pasadena. Initially, AB 322 required jurisdictions to track and test all rape kits, but the version Governor Brown ultimately reviewed required only the ten counties with the lowest sexual assault arrest rates to eliminate their backlogs.

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