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Relating to the statute of limitations for certain sexual offenses and the collection, analysis, and preservation of evidence of sexual assault and other sex offenses.
The fiscal implications of the bill cannot be determined at this time, but are likely to have a significant negative impact to the General Revenue Fund.
HB 8 would require an audit of all of the rape kits in the state that have contents that have not been submitted for laboratory analysis. The Department of Public Safety would be required to submit a report to the Governor and standing committees of the senate and the house containing the projected timeline for completion of laboratory analyses, a request of additional funding to finish the analyses, and whether the department determines if outsourcing of a portion of the submitted evidence is necessary.
The bill would require a crime lab to analyze evidence of sexual assault or other sex offense within 90 days of receiving the evidence.
The bill would remove the statute of limitations for sexual assault if biological evidence is collected and the matter has not yet been subjected to forensic DNA testing.
HB 8 would also prohibit destroying evidence collected by rape kits for the earlier of 40 years or until the statute of limitations has expired.. The bill would also allow for a publicly accredited crime laboratory to perform a comparison of DNA profiles if they perform the comparison within 30 days after the analysis is complete, if the law enforcement agency that submitted the evidence gives permission, and if the laboratory meets requirements to have access to state and DNA databases.
Texas Action recommends supporting HB 8 because it supports our principle of limited government. It is the proper role of government to provide an effective and efficient justice system, removing the backlog of rape kits promotes that purpose.