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California Legislature

Bill that would help reduce California's backlog of untested rape kits heads to governor's desk

 (Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)
(Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)

A bill that would tackle the backlog of untested sexual assault evidence kits in the state is on its way to Gov. Jerry Brown. 

AB 41, written by Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco), would help determine how many untested kits there are in the state. 

The bill passed the Assembly on a vote of 79 to 0 on Thursday. 

“Survivors of sexual assault deserve to know what happened to the sexual assault evidence kits they submitted,” Chiu said in a statement. “To get at the heart of the backlog problem we need to know how many kits are collected each year, and if they’re not analyzed, we need to know why." 

The bill would require law enforcement to report annual data on sexual assault kit collection and testing to the state Department of Justice. 

Under the legislation, local agencies will have access to a database to log rape kits and provide updates for them.  

More comprehensive data could help law enforcement make improvements and decide whether more resources are needed to test the kits. 

Chiu's bill comes in response to a national conversation about mismanaged rape kit evidence, which can be used to investigate and prosecute sexual assault crimes. 

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