PHOENIX – Governor Doug Ducey today signed legislation establishing time limits, standards and reporting requirements for the processing of rape kits to ensure all future kits are tested. The governor has worked with lawmakers from both parties, and law enforcement, to address the injustice of untested rape kits and allocate resources to clear out the remaining backlog. The bill passed the House and Senate with unanimous support.
“This effort demonstrates what can be achieved by working together to fix a serious problem,” said Governor Ducey. “Until recently, the state didn’t even know the number of untested rape kits in Arizona, which turned out to be in the thousands. Through the bipartisan work of the Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit Task Force, the backlog is dwindling and we've already seen two indictments. My budget provides additional dollars to eliminate the backlog, and today’s bill lets victims know that we are leaving no stone unturned in pursuit of justice for them.”
HB 2268, sponsored by Representative Maria Syms (R-Paradise Valley), requires health care facilities to notify law enforcement within 24 hours when a sexual assault kit is collected. It then mandates that law enforcement submit the kit to a crime lab to be tested within 15 days. The bill also requires annual reporting detailing the number of kits processed and explanations for any untested kits.
During his State of the State speech, Governor Ducey committed to funding the testing of all remaining rape kits and to testing all future rape kits, saying, “Let’s get this done—and, for the thousands of women who have been victimized, finally ensure justice.”
His fiscal year 2018 Executive Budget provides $1.2 million to clear out the remaining sexual assault kit backlog. The investment supplements existing funding sources, including approximately $6 million in federal grants and $500,000 as appropriated in fiscal year 2017.
In October 2016, Governor Ducey announced that he would take action on a report released by the Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit Task Force outlining recommendations to clear the backlog. The task force—a bipartisan coalition of victims advocates, law enforcement officials, and policy makers—was established through executive order in January 2016.
The Governor’s Office released a video showcasing the task force’s impactful work in March 2016. You can watch the video here.