Rape kit backlog bill signed into law

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Jay Inslee has signed into law a measure that seeks to eliminate a backlog of about 10,000 untested rape kits by December 2021.

The News Tribune reported that the measure also requires the State Patrol, starting May 1, 2022, to complete testing of a rape kit within 45 days of receiving it from local law enforcement agencies.

The bill, which is contingent on funding in the state budget, also extends the statute of limitations for prosecuting a rape case.

Current law sets the time limit for sex offenses at one year after the date of the crime or one year from the date on which DNA testing or photo evidence identifies the suspect — whichever is later. The bill increases the extension based on DNA testing or photo evidence to two years. The measure, signed by Inslee Tuesday, also creates a “bill of rights” for rape victims.

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