TX Representatives pass bill to track rape kits

Bill would create statewide rape kit database

Texas Representatives passed a bill Wednesday to create a statewide electronic database to track rape kits.

Austin Representative Donna Howard (D) authored House Bill 281. Howard says she was prompted to file it after talking with a sexual assault survivor and realizing there's no way to see where kits are in the testing process. 

"The tracking system is a way to make sure that we keep up with that forensic evidence, make sure it gets to where it needs to go in a timely fashion and that should help, for one thing, the backlog, but also allow survivors access codes so they can know where their forensic evidence is in that process," said Howard.

Howard explained tracking the kits will be similar to tracking a package. Many states and the City of Houston already have similar systems in place. 

Howard also said the system will tie into the national database, letting police know if they're dealing with a repeat offender.

After tentatively passing the bill Tuesday, the House unanimously passed the bill in a final vote Wednesday.

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