NEWS: Legislation Filed to Impose a Deadline to Test Rape Kits in Alaska

Rep. Tarr Pre-Files House Bill 20 to Require Rape Kits to be Tested Within Six Months

Anchorage – Representative Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage) has pre-filed public safety legislation requiring the timely testing of sexual assault/rape kits in Alaska, which often go untested. House Bill 20 will help prevent a backlog of untested kits by requiring testing within six months.

“In many cases, rape kits are evidence of heinous crimes. Justice for victims demands that we find ways to remove bureaucratic hurdles and test these kits in a timely manner. Every day a sexual assault kit goes untested is another day that a predator is on the streets endangering us all. A six-month deadline should be more than enough time to send these kits to the lab, get the results, and start the process of justice for victims,” said Rep. Tarr.

The introduction of House Bill 20 comes on the heels of the successful passage of legislation last year sponsored by Rep. Tarr requiring the Department of Public Safety to provide information to the Alaska Legislature annually detailing the number of untested rape kits in Alaska. According to the first report, the untested rape kit backlog stands at 2,586.

“Having thousands of untested rape kits is not acceptable when Alaska leads the nation in the rate of rapes and sexual assaults. The DNA evidence in those untested kits can and should be used to identify abusers and provide justice to victims. Instead, many of the kits are collecting dust in some evidence locker while criminals walk free. That is simply unacceptable, and I encourage my colleagues in the Alaska Legislature to join me in supporting House Bill 20,” said Rep. Tarr

House Bill 20 has been pre-filed and will be formally introduced when the 31st Alaska State Legislature begins on January 15 in Juneau.

For more information, please contact Rep. Geran Tarr at (907) 360-4047.

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