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Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 17, 2019 11:36 AM
From: Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation that would provide for a comprehensive bill of rights in Pennsylvania for survivors of sexual assault. Introduced last session by Senator Greenleaf, SB 742 passed the Senate unanimously while a similar version in the House was also approved unanimously.

In October of 2016, the federal “Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act” was signed into law, guaranteeing basic rights for a sexual assault survivor. With passage of the federal law, there is now an effort to get a similar bill of rights law in every state. While the federal law provides basic rights for sexual assault survivors in federal cases, it should also serve as a model for states to adopt to ensure that the same rights and protections are extended to survivors at the state and local level, where the vast majority of sexual assault cases are tried.

The rights include:
  1. Not being prevented from, or charged for, receiving a forensic medical exam;
  2. Preserving their rape kit, without charge, for the full statute of limitations, or 20 years, whichever is shorter;
  3. Being informed of any result of sexual assault evidence kit results including DNA matches and toxicology reports;
  4. Being informed, in writing, of policies governing the collection and preservation of a sexual assault evidence kit;
  5. Upon written request, receiving written notice within 60 days of intended destruction or disposal of evidence;
  6. Upon written request, being granted further preservation of the kit; and
  7. Being informed of these rights.
Frankly, the country lacks standard measures for sexual assault victims in reporting assaults, resulting in a patchwork of laws that fail to protect their liberties. Similar laws have been passed in 19 states so far. A comprehensive state bill of rights law in Pennsylvania will help guarantee that survivors of sexual assault have reasonable protections and procedures.

Previous co-sponsors of SB 742 include, Senators Sabatina, Yudichak, Costa, Fontana, Boscola, Bartolotta, Browne, Brewster and Leach.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this vital legislation.

Introduced as SB399