Assembly Public Safety Committee Approves Leyva Bill Requiring Prompt Rape Kit Testing
SB 22 Continues Senator Leyva’s Commitment to Ensuring Justice for Survivors
SACRAMENTO – Earlier today, the Assembly Public Safety Committee passed critical legislation authored by Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) requiring that law enforcement agencies and forensic laboratories promptly analyze and test all newly collected rape kit evidence in California.
Passing from committee today with strong bipartisan support, SB 22 ensures that sexual assault victims in California will have access to the swift submission and analysis of forensic evidence associated with their cases. Under the requirements of SB 22, newly collected rape kits must be submitted within 20 days and tested no later than 120 days after receipt. Promptly testing DNA evidence in rape kits will prevent backlogs of forensic evidence in laboratories or evidence rooms and can identify an unknown assailant, link crimes together, identify serial perpetrators and exonerate the wrongfully convicted.
“SB 22 is long overdue legislation that will help to ensure justice for survivors and protect our local communities by requiring the prompt testing of rape kits in California,” Senator Leyva said. “There is absolutely no reason why we should not be testing every rape kit in our state, particularly when those rape kits may contain crucial evidence that can help put rapists behind bars. I appreciate the strong support on both sides of the aisle for this common sense legislation that reaffirms California’s commitment to survivors and public safety.”
Senator Leyva previously authored legislation signed into law to eliminate the statute of limitations on rape (SB 813) in 2016, to criminalize sextortion (SB 500) in 2017, and to ban secret settlements in cases of sexual assault, sexual harassment and sex discrimination in California (SB 820).
SB 22 is sponsored jointly by Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, Joyful Heart Foundation, and Natasha’s Justice Project. Supported by California District Attorneys Association, California Police Chiefs Association, Change for Justice, National Association of Social Workers / California Chapter, Riverside Sheriffs' Association, San Diego County District Attorney's Office, Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee, Stonewall Democratic Club, Students Against Sexual Assault and UCSB Lobby Corps, SB 22 now advances to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for consideration.