There are hundreds of thousands of backlogged rape kits nationwide.
Collecting a rape kit tends to cost upwards of $1,000 and are used once a willing sexual assault victim comes forward. The kit allows people conducting the kit to collect any forensic evidence, which can then be used to help law enforcement during the crime investigation.
Newly proposed Assembly Bill 280 looks to take another step assisting that process by using what's described as a "Rape Kit Backlog Voluntary Tax Contribution Fund."
The bill would allow a person to designate on their tax return a specific amount of tax liability be transferred to the aforementioned fund.
The bill would "create a voluntary contribution check-off on the California income tax form. Donations supplement other funds to provide more money for rape kit testing by county and local agencies and crime labs," according to the proposal.
“Justice delayed is justice denied,” said Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley), author of the bill, in a press release. “Survivors of sexual assault who endure the hours-long rape kit exam process do so with the hope that it will bring their perpetrator to justice. Yet thousands of these kits sit untested throughout California. We must take action now to ensure critical pieces of evidence are not left behind.”
Existing law states:
- Authorizes a person to contribute amounts in excess of his or her personal income tax liability for the support of specified funds.
- There are general administrative provisions relevant to voluntary contributions which specify when that contribution is to be placed on the tax return, provide for the disbursement of contributions following fund provision repeals and require undesignated funds to be transferred to the General Fund.
- Requires any new contribution to contain the words voluntary tax contribution in the funds name and to set a minimum amount for the continuation of voluntary tax contribution on the tax form.
AB 280 passed unanimously through the Senate Appropriations in a 7-0 vote on Monday, July 10 and will now head to the Senate Governance and Finance Committee.