The United States Senate unanimously passed a bill to help reduce the backlog of untested rape kits in the Senate on Thursday.
Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn and California Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein introduced the “Debbie Smith Act of 2019,” which would reauthorize the Debbie Smith Act and give more resources to state and local law enforcement agencies to perform forensic analyses of crime scenes and untested rape kits, was passed in the bipartisan legislation after a number of both Democratic and Republican lawmakers co-sponsored the bill.
“The Debbie Smith Act has long been an important tool in the fight to end the backlogs of untested kits in cities across America,” Cornyn said in a statement. “I’m grateful to my Senate colleagues for recognizing the importance of this legislation to law enforcement seeking justice, survivors looking for answers, and families searching for closure.”
“The Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant program has dramatically reduced the backlog of untested DNA rape kits, providing justice for rape survivors and getting dangerous predators off the streets. Since 2004, more than 860,000 rape kits have been tested and 360,000 DNA profiles uploaded to the FBI’s database thanks to this program. I’m glad the Senate remains committed to reducing the untested rape kit backlog and I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to get it reauthorized,” Feinstein said in a statement.
In March it was reported by The New York Times, that testing old rape kits in the state of New York led to 165 prosecutions, including in rape-murder cases.
There is a related bill that has been introduced in the House where it will need to be passed before being sent to President Donald Trump to be signed into law.
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