Senate Joint Resolution 20 was delivered to the Governor this month after being passed in both the House and Senate unanimously. This bill requires a state audit of all untested rape kits in the custody of law enforcement agencies.
A recent audit in California, which closely examined practices in three of the state’s largest metropolitan areas, revealed that over half of the sexual assault kits collected between 2011 and 2013 were never analyzed by crime labs.
This morning, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $41 million in its FY2015 Commerce, Justice and Science spending bill to address the rape kit backlog.
This new initiative will enable communities to develop a thorough approach to rape kit testing, investigation and prosecution of sexual violence, training for law enforcement and services for survivors.
Over the past several weeks, the colors of the ENDTHEBACKLOG map, which demonstrates everything we currently know about the rape kit backlog nationwide, have been changing.
As states across the country have opened their legislative sessions since the start of the new year, ENDTHEBACKLOG has been watching closely for rape kit reforms. Starting in 2010, the legislatures in Illinois, Texas and Colorado blazed the trail for mandating the testing of all rape kits booked into police evidence. Other states are beginning to follow their lead to varying degrees.
Thousands of evidence kits collected from rape victims that have sat untested for years in Texas can now be analyzed, thanks to an $11 million budget appropriation earmarked for the Texas Department of Public Safety.