Lawmakers approve legislation, funding to test backlog of rape kits

• Advocates hope new effort will solve cold cases • Capital budget includes $2.75 million; new legislation calls for training, audits

An effort to solve a backlog of untested evidence from rape cases across Alaska received a major boost from the Alaska Legislature this week, but public officials caution that the backlog will still take time to resolve.

Before legislators adjourned the 30th Legislature on Sunday, they inserted $2.75 million into the state’s capital budget to pay outside laboratories to examine untested DNA evidence from sexual assault cases over the past several decades.

They also approved House Bill 31, which requires police to be trained in how to manage sexual assault and domestic violence, and requires the state to report the number of untested sexual assault evidence kits.

“This is going to make a huge difference,” said Rep. Geran Tarr, D-Anchorage, of the Legislature’s actions.

For the rest of this story, visit the Juneau Empire. 

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