SB 1636 by state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, would require a police department to submit a rape kit to a crime lab within at least 30 days of determining that a sexual assault has occurred. DNA analysis would have to be done no later than 90 days after the sexual assault was reported. After testing, the Texas Department of Public Safety would compare the DNA profile to those already in databases maintained by the state and the FBI. To the extent that funding is available, the bill also requires testing of untested rape kits in active cases since 1996.
This bill should get untested rape kits off the shelves of police evidence lockers and into the lab where DNA testing and the CODIS database have a chance of identifying an offender. An Austin American Statesman story on this bill indicates that thousands of untested rape kits dating back 15 years would be required to be sent off to the crime lab under the provisions of this bill.
The victims of these crimes deserve better than to have the evidence collected sitting on a shelf untested. Great job Senator Davis.