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House Committee Approves Sexual Assault Survivor, DNA Testing Bills

On July 7, the House Judiciary Committee approved H.R. 5578, the Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act, and H.R. 320, the Rapid DNA Act.

Survivors’ Bill of Rights

The committee approved H.R. 5578, sponsored by Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA), by voice vote. The bill would establish several rights of sexual assault survivors regarding the collection and retention of sexual assault evidence collection kits, including the right to receive written notification of the date of intended destruction or disposal of such evidence.

Among other provisions, the bill would authorize state grants to develop and disseminate information regarding applicable rights and policies to organizations that serve sexual assault survivors. Such organizations would be required to ensure that survivors are informed of their rights.

Rapid DNA

Sponsored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), H.R. 320, as amended, would require the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to develop and issue standards for the fully automated testing and analyzing of DNA samples by qualified agencies – booking stations, jails, prisons, detention centers, and other law enforcement agencies outside of forensic laboratories.

The committee approved the measure by voice vote; the Senate approved similar legislation (S. 2348) on June 16 (see The Source, 6/17/16).

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