The Kentucky Senate has approved legislation intended to avoid future backlogs of untested sexual assault kits.
The unanimous approval comes as more than three thousand untested rape kits remain in the state police crime lab. A state audit uncovered the backlog.
Louisville Senator Denise Harper Angel told her colleagues the bill calls for taking sexual assault kits into custody from collecting facilities within five days. “All kits shall be submitted to the KSP crime lab within 30 days. All kits submitted to law enforcement agencies shall be tested, cannot be destroyed, and all victims shall be notified of the progress and results of the testing,” said Harper Angel.
Hopkinsville Senator Whitney Westerfield says officials at the lab and within the State Justice Cabinet have put much effort into tackling this problem. “To make sure we’ve got a compromise bill that we can pass, that people can meet the standards in, and that will prevent a backlog like this from happening again,” Westerfield explained.
Westerfield says the State Police Crime Lab is underfunded. He says more staff and equipment are needed. The bill does not establish funding levels.