Legislation to test rape kits advances to governor's desk

Bill was introduced in wake of CALL7 Investigation

DENVER - Legislation to require that forensic evidence collected in rape investigations be tested advanced Tuesday to Gov. John Hickenlooper's desk.  The legislation was introduced by state lawmakers in response to a CALL7 Investigation finding that thousands of rape test kits in Colorado went untested.

House Bill 1020, co-sponsored by state Rep. Frank McNulty and Sen. Ellen Roberts, seeks to create a statewide standard for testing the kits. It requires police to submit evidence taken from sexual assault victims to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, ensuring that it does not gather dust on shelves.

Police would also be required to inventory how many kits they have failed to test in the past and to work with CBI to eliminate the backlog.

In November, CALL7 Investigator Keli Rabon used state open records laws to obtain data showing scores of cases where departments around the state had failed to test the kits, meaning at times victims' cases possibly went cold as suspected attackers roamed free.

The legislation, which passed the House last month, was unanimously approved in the Senate. Hickenlooper has 30 days to sign the legislation into law.

-- Read the bill: http://ch7ne.ws/11gI5ZO

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If you have a news tip, or follow-up to this story, e-mail Keli Rabon. You can also connect with me on Facebook or through Twitter @KeliRabon.