KY legislature passes bill to speed up testing of rape kits
A recent audit showed more than 3,000 rape kits were going untested in Kentucky.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- A bill that aims to speed up the testing of rape kits passed the Kentucky House on Friday and is now headed to the Gov. Matt Bevin's desk to be signed.
The proposed legislation comes after a 2015 audit showed more than 3,000 rape kits were going untested in the state. Rape kits can contain crucial evidence from a victim's body.
"We were not even aware that there was a backlog, especially not that many," said Eileen Recktenwald, Executive Director of the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs.
The report sparked Senate Bill 63, which was sponsored by State Senator Denise Harper Angel (D-Louisville).
"There will be a process, and nothing can fall through the cracks," she said about the bill, which sets procedures and timelines for testing rape kits. "Every single kit will have to be picked up within five days ... submitted to the crime lab within 30 days."
Once at the state lab, the bill calls for a faster process.
We're told right now, it takes eight to nine months for a kit to be tested.
But by 2018, the bill says testing should happen within 90 days, and by 2020, it'd take 60 days.
As far as funding, Gov. Bevin included $4.5 million in his proposed budget to address the backlog problem.
"In other states that this has happened in, a lot of times when they start clearing the backlog, they will get hits to CODIS, which is the DNA database," Recktenwald said.
She says the increased testing could lead to breaks in more cases, getting rapists off the street.
"It will create an investigation at least, and if it's prosecuted, hopefully justice will be done," Recktenwald said.
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