A bill introduced by a local lawmaker to give law enforcement officials a longer period of time to analyze rape kits passed through a key committee vote last week.
California Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, who represents part of San Marino, was able to move a step forward AB1682 when the Assembly Public Safety Committee approved the bill last week. The bill would allow law enforcement officials to have five years instead of two years to look at rape kits.
In explaining why he introduced the bill, Portantino cited a study by The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, which notes that one in six women and one in 33 men will be sexually assaulted sometime in their lifetimes, but only six percent of rapists will ever spend a day in jail.
“I have introduced this bill to make sure that California is doing everything it can to arrest and prosecute rapists. Current statute of limitations in rape cases is tied to the testing of rape kits. Unfortunately, as we’ve seen in the past, not all rape kits are being tested in a timely manner and many languish past the statute of limitations for prosecuting the crime,” Portantino wrote in a prepared statement. “It’s frustrating to know a rapist could be walking the streets because a vital piece of evidence went untested and the statute of limitations ran out.”
The bill was unanimously approved six to zero by the committee on Tuesday, April 24. It is also supported by the California Police Chiefs Association, California State Sheriffs’ Association, Crime Victims United, and the Junior League of California.
Portantino was unable to get similar bills made into law the last two years - though in 2011 and 2010 his rape kit bills were passed by the legislature they were vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, respectively.