Bill to address rape kit backlog goes before lawmakers

Stock The ROUNDHOUSE - NM Legislature

SANTA FE (AP) – Legislation aimed at addressing a backlog of rape test kits in the state would appropriate $1.2 million to hire more forensic scientists to process DNA evidence from sexual assault cases in the next fiscal year.

The bill introduced by Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes, an Albuquerque Republican, is scheduled to go before the state House Judiciary Committee on Monday.

The money for crime lab staff would be appropriated to the Department of Public Safety.

DNA evidence that includes pieces of hair or swabbings from a victim’s body is collected for the kits, which can help investigators solve a crime or possibly link a solved case to other crimes.

Test results are entered into a database that can lead officials to discover whether an assailant is a serial offender.

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