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Bill to improve processing of rape evidence kits passes 36-0 in Connecticut

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HARTFORD — State Senate lawmakers unanimously approved legislation that would try to improve the processing of sexual-assault evidence collection kits at the state’s forensic laboratory.

In a 36-0 vote on Monday, senators moved the bill out of the Senate to the House. The bill originally was proposed by Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

According to February meeting minutes from the Governor’s Sexual Assault Kit Working Group, 1,188 kits were submitted to the state’s laboratory. Eighty percent had been processed by March and are expected to be completed by June. Of those kits, nine had conviction matches.

In 2015, Connecticut enacted a law that requires rape kits to be sent to the state crime lab within 10 days of collection and tested within 60 days.

The current bill would require the state to continue maintaining the electronic tracking system for kits and would introduce a new policy for health care facilities to contact sexual-assault counselors when victims arrive.

Malloy calls the proper testing of evidence kits “a matter of justice for the victim and a matter of public safety.”

Under the legislation, the commission also must advise the chief state’s attorney on establishing a mandatory training program for health care staff on the kit-tracking software.

House legislators have until Wednesday at midnight to act.

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