SALT LAKE CITY — A state legislative committee Thursday unanimously approved changes to last year's Sexual Assault Kit Processing Act, modifying the legislation to mandate that every kit collected from an adult victim is processed unless the victim explicitly declines.
The Sexual Assault Kit Processing Act mandates that law enforcement officials process rape kits and get them to the lab within 30 days for DNA testing. The legislation was passed in the wake of a BYU study that found rape kits could take up to two years or more to make it to the lab.
HB119 seeks to make sure every kit is tested, unless the victim declines the testing. Such restricted kits would become unrestricted the moment the victim indicates otherwise, according to the bill. If health care providers wish to designate the kit as restricted, they must do so at the time of collection.
Last year's bill is set to take effect in July.Comment on this story
The bill is being sponsored by House Minority Assistant Whip Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, who sponsored the original legislation.
House Democrats issued a statement Thursday, saying "the bill improves upon legislation passed and signed into law last year, and will support victims and survivors in our state by ensuring that sexual assault kits are processed correctly."
The House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee voted 7-0 to send the bill to the full House for further debate.