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Senate approves rape kit testing bill

Earlier this week I mentioned a bill, SB1636, by Sen. Wendy Davis that aimed at getting thousands of untested rape kits analyzed. I’m pleased to say that it was passed unanimously by the Senate today, and now heads to the House.

SB 1636 by state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, would require a police department to submit a rape kit to a crime lab within at least 30 days of determining that a sexual assault has occurred. DNA analysis would have to be done no later than 90 days after the sexual assault was reported. After testing, the Texas Department of Public Safety would compare the DNA profile to those already in databases maintained by the state and the FBI. To the extent that funding is available, the bill also requires testing of untested rape kits in active cases since 1996.

Initially, an $11 million price tag on the rape kit bill generated concerns among lawmakers and law enforcement officials. Davis, however, changed the measure to require testing only when funding is available and ensure that no new money would be required.

Good. Some background on the bill is here, and a press release by Sen. Davis is here. I hope it will be swiftly passed by the House so the state can get to work on this important task.

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