Governor Newsom Agrees with Senator Leyva: Promptly Test All New Rape Kits in California

SB 22 Will Help Ensure Justice for Survivors and Put Rapists Behind Bars

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation authored by Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) requiring that law enforcement agencies and forensic laboratories promptly test all newly collected rape kits in California. 

Under the requirements of the signed legislation—which passed from both the Senate and Assembly without a single ‘No’ vote—newly collected rape kits must be submitted within 20 days and tested no later than 120 days after receipt.  The swift testing of DNA evidence in rape kits can help identify an unknown assailant, link crimes together, identify serial perpetrators and exonerate the wrongfully convicted.  SB 22 follows federal best practices and ensures that survivors reporting sexual assault across California will have equal access to the submission and analysis of forensic evidence associated with their cases.

“This is a clear victory for survivors of rape and sexual assault in California, as the Governor’s signature of SB 22 reminds survivors that they matter and that they deserve justice,” Senator Leyva said.  “After then-Governor Brown signed my SB 813 three years ago to eliminate the statute of limitations on rape, I knew that we still needed to fight to test all rape kits so that we can help put rapists behind bars with the critical DNA evidence found within these kits. There is absolutely no reason why a rape kit should ever sit untested for months or years when statistics tell us that testing rape kits helps to ensure justice by identifying perpetrators. By signing SB 22, the Governor is standing with me in sending a clear message to survivors that we hear them, we see them and we believe them.  I thank my legislative colleagues for strongly supporting SB 22, a crucial measure that will help to protect residents and communities in California, while also helping survivors heal. I would also like to offer countless thanks to the many brave survivors and advocates that shared their stories and helped bring SB 22 to the finish line.”

Sponsored jointly by the Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, Joyful Heart Foundation and Natasha’s Justice Project, SB 22 also earned support from the 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, Stonewall Democratic Club, Students Against Sexual Assault and UCSB Lobby Corps.