Tue., March 15, 2016
Bill requiring testing, tracking of rape kits passes Senate 35-0, heads to governor
The Idaho Senate has voted unanimously, 35-0, in favor of HB 528, legislation to lay out requirements and procedures for testing of all sexual assault evidence kits, commonly called rape kits. “The DNA evidence in these kits can be a powerful tool in solving these crimes,” Sen. Maryanne Jordan, D-Boise, told the Senate. “It can also be used to exonerate a person wrongfully accused or convicted.”
The bill includes standards for rape kit testing, required timelines, and tracking requirements. “With no statute currently in place, there is no one responsible for overseeing this process,” Jordan said, and Idaho has a backlog of untested kits. She noted that the bill earlier passed the House unanimously, and a “trailer” appropriation bill is pending to fund two new DNA forensic scientists and one forensic evidence specialist.
The bill now moves to Gov. Butch Otter.