State Rep. Brandon Neuman, D-North Strabane Township, is drafting legislation to further improve testing of evidence from sexual assaults.
“Pennsylvania is making great strides resolving the backlog of untested rape kits,” said Neuman, whose Act 27 of 2015 is helping to ensure that sexual assault victims and their families receive timely attention and justice. “However, we have more work to do, and I will have legislation ready for consideration as soon as possible in 2017.”
Neuman said his legislation that would:
• Establish a commission of local and state agencies to review funding needs annually and to improve communications;
• Establish a hotline for hospitals to call if a rape kit is not picked up within 72 hours; and
• Clarify ambiguous language such as “as soon as practical.”
“The state Auditor General’s Office did an excellent job pinpointing where Pennsylvania can make even more improvements to the state’s Sexual Assault Testing and Evidence Collection Act, which my Act 27 bolstered significantly,” Neuman said of a report issued last year that found a backlog of thousands of rape kits. “My new legislation would implement recommendations from the auditor general’s special report on untested rape kits and give them the force of law.”
Neuman said he is pleased by the early legislative support being provided for his follow-up legislation, saying it mirrors the unanimous support his Act 27 received throughout the House and Senate and their respective committees before being signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf.