Senate Bill Seeks Faster DNA Tests In Sex Assaults

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — A state senator from Ft. Myers has filed a bill that could help speed up lab testing of evidence in suspected sexual-assault cases.

Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto’s bill, which will be considered during the 2016 legislative session, follows a news conference last month in which Attorney General Pam Bondi detailed a massive backlog of untested rape kits across the state.

Three other lawmakers also have filed bills seeking to address the issue.

Under Benacquisto’s bill, DNA evidence collected in sexual-assault investigations would have to be submitted to the state crime-lab system for testing within 21 days of being received by law-enforcement agencies. Also, victims, their parents or personal representatives could request the DNA evidence be turned over sooner.

The bill would also require the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to submit a plan by October 1st, 2016, for analyzing untested evidence currently held in the lab system. That evidence would have to be tested by June 30th, 2017.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

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