Bill to fund testing of all rape kits lands on Gov. Herbert's desk
(KUTV) — A bill to fund processing of a back-log of rape kits is going before Governor Herbert to sign into law.
H.B. 200 will provide nearly $2.8 million in funding to create initial procedures, training, preventative education, and testing. Nearly $1.2 million will be funded towards the program annually.
The bill’s sponsor, Representative Angela Romero (D-Salt Lake City), said the backlog of two thousand untested rape kits was a disgrace.
"When a kit's not tested, many people feel like they're not believed. And so, by testing kits, we're also able to identify serial rapists," she said. "For me, it's more important for that victim to have closure. And they're no longer a victim. They can become a survivor."
Romero said the funding would help create a program to train lab personnel and to provide preventative training.
"Before we can talk about sexual assault kits, we have to talk about consent," Romero said. "We're solving a lot of crimes because we're testing kits."
Over the last few months, about half of the back-logged kits have been tested. Those tests have helped bring criminals to justice.
"How we've advanced DNA and how we've advanced things, it's solved other crimes across the country."
Romero said she and her colleagues would reassess the need for additional funds on an annual basis. If needed, they would likely draw from the state’s general fund.