State bill to track rape kit tests becomes first law of its kind

A bipartisan bill that creates a system to track the status of rape kits was signed by Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday, making it the first such law of its kind in the nation.

  • BY Wire Service
  • Friday, April 1, 2016 6:34pm
  • News
State Rep. Tina Orwall

State Rep. Tina Orwall

A bipartisan bill that creates a system to track the status of rape kits was signed by Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday, making it the first such law of its kind in the nation.

“This is a proud day for Washington state,” said prime sponsor of HB 2530, Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines, in a media release. “Passing this legislation means sexual assault kits will no longer sit untested on shelves and ensures survivors can seek justice as they track the status of their rape kits in the system.”

The Legislature passed a law in 2015 to mandate sexual assault kits, often called rape kits, be sent to the state crime lab within 30 days of being collected. HB 2530 and the Senate companion SB 6484, sponsored by Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, builds on that work by establishing a system to track rape kits, which are used by medical staff and law enforcement to collect DNA evidence following an attack.

The system tracks them from the hospital through the possession of law enforcement to the crime lab for testing. The system will also allow victims to go online and check the status of their kit.

“This law paves the way to justice for people in our state and throughout the nation as we set an example of what services should be available to survivors of rape and sexual assault,” said co-sponsor of the Senate companion, Sen. Pramila Jayapal, D-Seattle. “These crimes are not only an attack on a person physically but on their sense of security and control. By empowering survivors to keep track of the progress of their kit, some of that sense of control can hopefully be regained, and ultimately ensure justice is served.”

Roughly $3.8 million was appropriated in the 2016 supplemental operating budget to implement this program. This funding will ensure the testing of 6,000 un-submitted rape kits, implement the tracking system and provide a grant for sexual assault nurse examiner services and training. The bill also creates the Washington Sexual Assault Kit Account with the state Department of Commerce, which is eligible to accept private donations.

Money will also go to study the availability of sexual assault nurse examiners throughout the state and determine whether more nurses are needed. The study is part of HB 2711, sponsored by Rep. Gina McCabe, R-Goldendale.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Rep. Mia Gregerson. COURTESY PHOTO, Legislative Support Services
Gregerson state bill aims to improve immigration support

Designed to better address needs of refugees, immigrants arriving in Washington state

t
Federal Way man faces charges for shooting, injuring trooper in Kent

Trooper reportedly shot nine times Feb. 16 after a struggle following foot pursuit

Courtesy image, U.S. Department of Justice
Kent man pleads guilty to selling guns to those with criminal histories

Sold more than 100 firearms to those barred from possessing guns

t
Man dies after shooting in Kent on King County Metro bus

Altercation between two men led to shooting Friday afternoon, Feb. 16

File photo
Puget Sound Energy files two-year rate plan for electric, natural gas

Driven by the state’s clean energy laws, the plan has been filed to the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission.

Washington Early Support for Infants and Toddlers program advocacy group at the State Capitol for HB 1916. (Photo Courtesy of Kindering)
‘When services decline, it’s the kids who pay the price’

Legislative bill would recover funding for the Early Support for Infants and Toddlers program - and could save the state millions.

A screenshot of the King County Sheriff’s Office Guardian One helicopter view of the arrest of a Kent man after carjacking incidents Feb. 13 in Kent. COURTESY IMAGE, King County Sheriff’s Office
Kent man, woman charged in carjackings, stolen vehicles case

Tracking by King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter lasted nearly 50 minutes Feb. 13 across Kent

Donald Cook. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent School District
Cook accuses fellow Kent School Board members of improper actions

Claims they made decisions during private executive sessions that should be made in public

t
Port Townsend man injured in I-5 hit-and-run crash near Kent

Early Thursday morning, Feb. 15 near South 200th Street; driver flees on foot

t
Kent Police Blotter: Jan. 30 to Feb. 10

Incidents include 11 shootings: two at city parks, two at apartments, one at WinCo

t
Vine Maple Place receives $200,000 grant from KeyBank

Group has centers in Kent and Maple Valley to help families who are homeless

File Photo
DOJ settles with King County Sheriff’s Office in agreement to improve language access

OLEO has previously expressed concerns about the office’s language access policies.