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Senate approves bill to create standardized rape kit in Oklahoma

Gun rights advocates rally at Oklahoma Capitol
Posted at 8:52 PM, May 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-08 21:52:25-04

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Senate-approved a bill today, which creates a standardized rape kit in Oklahoma.

Senate Bill 975 got unanimous final approval on Tuesday.

The author, Democrat Kay Floyd, says it's a response to the state's backlog of untested kits.

“Victims of sexual assault deserve justice, and justice can’t be served until their kits are analyzed,” Floyd said. “Standardizing the test will speed up processing of these kits and provide additional evidence to help law enforcement catch these criminals.”

A 2017 audit found more than 7,000 of those kits sat untested throughout the state.

Under the bill, agencies must submit the kit to a lab within 20 days if the victim files a report with law enforcement or requests that it be processed.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation also is directed to adopt prioritization guidelines for the testing of untested kits. The guidelines must consider when the test was taken, the statute of limitations, and whether the victim knows the alleged perpetrator or not. The OSBI and accredited crime laboratories are directed to adopt rules and guidelines for the submission of tested kits by January 1, 2020.

House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols served as the House principal author of the measure.

SB 975, which was one of the recommendations of the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence (SAFE) Task Force, now goes to the Governor for consideration.

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