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

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


Williams Trial at Riak stolen cocaine property and evidence unit stored as evidence stolen guns Rape kit Untested Sexual Kits Texas Forensic Science Commission police policy Signed Out Evidence police evidence room prosecutors strange evidence Thursday taking marijuana Untest rape kits stolen methamphetamine President Obama theft of drugs Rape Kits Backlog Tulare Police prosecutor storage practices stolen meth Thursday.Charles Holifield report Wednesday stealing guns stealing drug evidence people Via URL Browse Media Upload Sheriff Arrested release of evidence Sergeant Arrested stolen cash Wrongful conviction tampered drugs week untestes rape kits state Division Property Clerk jobs Plead guilty Washington State Patrol crime lab Theft returned evidence police evidence Sexual assault kit steal drugs Vancouver BC property room inventory police storage sexual assault prescription pills stolen money Transient property sex crime State trooper accused State Agency Evidence Jobs rape kit standardarization stealing drugs State/Province Stolen pills Prosecutor Arrested STOLEN CASH steal money security camera footage property room audit Storage wrongful conviction plants serial rapist theft of money Property Room Jobs tampering with public record police West Coast police officer sentenced unsolved murder Sexual assault Survivors Bill of Rights stealing money PropertyRoom.com employee stolen drugs Republican lawmakers report state prison Standards Perth Austrialia withholding evidence state government Property room police department policies stolen OxyContin side door United Kingdom selling guns untested rape kits stolen drug from evidence Property Rm Theft stolen cannabis rape kit audit police suicide rape kits poor record keeping Year Suicide sloppy evidence control POLICIES AND PROCEDURES settlement skunky aroma wafted PILLS unit sentence to prison unwanted medications SAKs sexual assault kits Wattier tape Pensacola crime lab supervisor recovered property statute of limitations work Property Control Room rape evidence — Sheriff pleads guilty police agencies stolen gun South Dakota Highway Patrolman sentence to jail Untested rape kits rape kit backlog sheriff police Lt stolen jewelry stolen ammunition tampered evidence state chips Wrongful Conviction police officer arrested sexual assault kit property room piece stolen marijuana Ventura County sheriff Wichita Police Department sheriff arrested sexual assault task force threw away evidence rape kit Untested rape kit

Search IAPE