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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 29, 2014 04:08 PM
From: Representative Brandon P. Neuman
To: All House members
Subject: Sexual Assault Testing and Evidence Collection Legislation

In the near future, I plan to reintroduce legislation that was previously introduced by Representative Brendan Boyle that amends the Sexual Assault Testing and Evidence Collection Act. The amendment will require a more comprehensive process for the testing of evidence collected pursuant to a sexual assault. My proposed changes will help the Commonwealth qualify for federal funding it is currently ineligible for. This bill was previously introduced as House Bill 2489 of the 2013-2014 Regular Session and passed 195-0.

Currently, Pennsylvania law provides for a sexual assault evidence collection program to promote the health and safety of victims of sexual assault and to facilitate the prosecution of persons accused of sexual assault. However, I believe current law must be expanded to provide for precise policy and procedures for law enforcement and require the Department of Health to create specific guidelines with regard to sexual assault evidence collection and testing. My legislation would provide for the following:
  • The Department of Health would designate which laboratories are approved to receive, test, and analyze sexual assault evidence;
  • Testing laboratories would be required to produce results of testing within a specified timeframe;
  • Testing laboratories would be required to test and analyze current rape kit backlogs within a specified timeframe; and
  • Law enforcement would be required to report on testing backlogs and permitted to upload testing results into a national, state, or local database for the purpose of aiding criminal investigations.
    Nationwide, there are at least 400,000 backlogged and untested rape-kits. Many states, including Pennsylvania, have no reporting requirements, resulting in the true extent of this backlog being unknown. Every untested kit represents a horrible injustice to the victim; a victim who may be lacking the closure that would come with solving their case. To this end, I ask you to stand with me to strengthen our current law so sexual assault perpetrators can be brought to justice with expediency and efficiency. I urge you to join me in sponsoring this important legislation. Thank you!

Introduced as HB272