Better East Texas: Possible solution for rape-kit backlog

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - The crime of rape is one of (if not the most) impactful events on the victim, both physically and emotionally. You would think that the prosecution of these crimes would be a top priority but, in cases of rape, the process of gathering evidence and then examining the evidence is largely dependent on a rape kit – a tool that medically links the accused to the crime.

However, in Texas there has been a backlog of rape kits getting processed because of budget constraints.  Literally thousands – as many as 19,000 - kits were untested statewide back in 2011.  The state legislature earmarked additional dollars to get the backlog reduced and now the outstanding number is down to 4,000.  But that is still 4,000 cases that are pending, waiting on these kits to be processed.  

The state legislature is considering a bill – House Bill 1729 - that would encourage and create a mechanism whereby Texans can donate a dollar or more towards this cause when you renew you driver's license.  Authors of the bill say it will be as easy as checking a box on the form.  The funds would go to reduce the backlog or help in current rape cases.  

This seems like a no-brainer and hopefully the legislature will keep this bill clean and get this problem solved.  Hopefully, Texans will step up and donate painlessly to this cause that has created so much pain.  As a society, we need to prevent crimes like this altogether, but in that absence, helping victims with urgency will make for a Better East Texas.

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