Raleigh, N.C. – The North Carolina House of Representatives approved legislation on Monday appropriating funds and establishing new protocols for the testing of sexual assault kits by the State Crime Lab and local law enforcement agencies.
House Bill 29 Standing up for Rape Victims Act of 2019 appropriates $6 million to the North Carolina Department of Justice and requires agencies that process sexual assault kits to notify appropriate law enforcement agencies within 24 hours after DNA has been collected.
The bill also requires a law enforcement agency to take custody of a kit from a collecting agency within 7 days of notification, submit “reported” kits to the Crime Lab and “unreported” kits to the Department of Public Safety within 45 days of taking custody of the kit.
Law enforcement agencies are authorized to establish “review teams” to conduct assessments of untested sexual assault kits and prioritize those for testing under the bill, which also requires the state Crime Lab to notify law enforcement as soon as practicable of its approval to test a previously untested kit and provide shipment information.
The legislation further requires the state Crime Lab to test approved kits and enter the results into the relevant databases.
State House Rep. Jamie Boles (R-Moore) is the senior chairman of the House Appropriations Committee on Justice and Public Safety and noted the bill was the result of collaboration among state leaders.
“This is a critical part of the budget that we passed, to stand up for victims of sexual assault and provide additional resources to bring their attackers to justice,” said state Rep. Jamie Boles (R-Moore). “This is work that needs to be completed, we owe this to these victims, and I urge your support of the bill.”
H.B. 29 has now passed the General Assembly and was sent to the Governor for consideration .