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Kennedy, colleagues introduce bill to address rape kit backlog

by Minden Press-Herald

“Law enforcement works hard to get violent criminals out of our communities using DNA samples from rape kits. The Debbie Smith Act would provide vital resources to bring justice to innocent victims who have waited too long because of these backlogs.”

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, joined Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) in introducing the Debbie Smith Act to reauthorize funding for resources that law enforcement programs use to investigate crime scenes and untested rape kits.

“Law enforcement works hard to get violent criminals out of our communities using DNA samples from rape kits. The Debbie Smith Act would provide vital resources to bring justice to innocent victims who have waited too long because of these backlogs,” said Kennedy.

“This landmark legislation has played a critical role in the fight to end backlogs of untested kits in cities across America. By reauthorizing key programs created under the Debbie Smith Act, we can empower law enforcement to continue testing DNA evidence to solve crimes and support survivors,” said Cornyn.

Background:

  • The Debbie Smith Act first became law in 2004 and has since helped end a backlog of untested DNA by providing funding to state and local crime laboratories.
  • Since the bill originally passed, the funding has supported the processing of over 860,000 DNA cases.
  • The funding from this bill also helps process offender DNA samples from unsolved crimes and match them against a database of known offenders, similar to the criminal fingerprint databases.

Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) also cosponsored this bill.

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