Texas may ask drivers to help clear rape kit backlog

Texas is considering asking drivers to help it clear its huge backlog of
untested rape kits, a novel approach that has been well received by
cost-conscious Republican lawmakers and one that other states might
consider

April 5, 2017

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas is considering asking drivers to help it clear its huge backlog of untested rape kits, a novel approach that has been well received by cost-conscious Republican lawmakers and one that other states might consider.

The Republican-controlled Texas House on Wednesday gave tentative approval to the bill, which would ask drivers renewing their licenses to donate $1 or more to help test the thousands of rape kits awaiting analysis. It would still need the state Senate's approval and Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's signature to become law, but it hasn't encountered any resistance thus far.

Victim rights groups say it appears to be unprecedented, though New Mexico may enact a law this week that would allow people to donate part of their tax returns to help clear its backlog.

Budget officials estimate that the Texas bill would raise about $1 million in donations. Its sponsor, Democratic state Rep. Victoria Neave, described it as something of an imperfect solution at a time when Republican-controlled Legislature is trying to cut billions of dollars in spending amid a budget crunch.

"Frankly, I believe that our state should be fully funding this," Neave said. "But I wanted to come up with a creative solution to generate revenue to help end the backlog."

Fully funding anything will be difficult this year in Texas, where a prolonged oil slowdown has left the state short billions of dollars to keep pace with a rapidly growing population. Deep cuts to higher education and Medicaid are on the table, and although about $4 million for rape kit-testing is included in a spending bill that House lawmakers will consider Thursday, there is no guarantee that money will remain in the budget sent to Abbott's desk this summer.

Texas has about 3,800 untested kits at a state lab and thousands more in cities such as Dallas and Austin, Neave said, who is one of only 29 women in the 150-member Texas House. Processing a single one costs anywhere from $500 to $2,000, she said.

Liz Boyce, an attorney with the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, called the bill an innovative approach that was unlike anything she has come across.

"Money is tight, policy is the way things are. It's a reality that legislators by and large don't want to throw tax dollars into the mix on some of these issues that don't impact every single person across the state," Boyce said. "We're just glad someone is trying to come up with another solution."

Many states are struggling with large backlogs of untested rape kits. Nationwide, there are between 100,000 and 400,000 untested sexual assault kits, and at least 28 states have enacted laws to address the problem, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.

Rate this blog entry:
Crime-scene investigator made errors in 65 cases, ...
Second Untested Rape Kit Backlog Found In Detroit

Related Posts

Blotter - Latest News

News By Region

Keywords

stealing heroin Williams Wrongful Conviction tampered envelopes state prison unaccouted guns Trial at Riak unaccounted drugs technician arrested Year stealing guns stealing bills work stealing drug Wrongful conviction sheriffs department taking marijuana stealing funs steal drugs stolen guns tampering with public record untested rape kit stolen marijuana Suicide state Division stolen jewelry Untested rape kit Sheriff pleads guilty Sexual assault Survivors Bill of Rights valuable stones threw away evidence snakes withholding evidence stolne guns Sexual assault kit testing guns stolen gun vault of contraband Wattier Washington State Patrol crime lab unwanted medications stealing money Tulare Police trial towing scandal sheriffs employee gets jail stolen OxyContin steal evidnece untested sexual kit Texas Forensic Science Commission Thursday.Charles Holifield state chips trooper arrested sexual assault kit sexual assault task force with holding evidence sheriff arrested untest rape kit side door West Coast stealing cocaine South Dakota Highway Patrolman theft of drugs unit stealing narcotics tampered evidence stolen cash years of neglect STOLEN CASH trooper sentenced stealing drugs taking heroin Standards State Agency Evidence Jobs Storage sting operation Ventura County sheriff woochy poochy undersheriff stealing gungs stealing pistols untested rape kits wrongly convicted tampering with police records stolen gons unscientific protocols tapes edited storage bunker stealing cash stolen cannabis UNTESTED RAPE KITS untestes rape kits tampered drugs Stolen pills steal money stole evidence stolen drugs unsolved murder Sheriff Arrested stolen meth stolen ammunition Via URL Browse Media Upload STEALING DRUG MONEY show Vancouver BC sexual assault kits stolen methamphetamine statute of limitations stolen cocaine stored evidence stealing evidence Thursday strange evidence temporary locker WRONGFUL CONVICTION stolen money stored as evidence tape sloppy evidence control theft of evidence Signed Out Evidence State trooper accused storage practices took heroin stealing drug evidence Untested rape kits stolen drug from evidence Wichita Police Department stolen evidence thieving evidence room cop untested evidence kits United Kingdom sheriff Transient property shelves theft conviction trooper accused week Untest rape kits theft of money wrongful conviction St Theft skunky aroma wafted State/Province tampering with evidence urn untested sexual assault evidence Untested Sexual Kits untestted sexual assault kits state government

Search IAPE

  • All
  • Best Practices
  • DEA
  • Drugs
  • NIOSH
  • Default
  • Title