Stitt signs measure to change the way agencies handle rape kits

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OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that was recently signed into law hopes to change the way Oklahoma agencies handle rape kits in the future.

In February, officials told News 4 that there were 7,200 untested rape kits in Oklahoma.

Earlier this month, the Oklahoma State Senate gave unanimous final approval to a bill that hopes to address some of that backlog.

SB 975 creates a timeline for law enforcement, giving them 20 days once they receive a rape kit to get it to the lab for testing. It also mandates that rape kits are kept as evidence for 50 years.

The OSBI is also directed to adopt prioritization guidelines for the testing of untested kits. The guidelines must consider when the test was taken, the statute of limitations, and whether the victim knows the alleged perpetrator or not.

On Tuesday, Gov. Stitt signed Senate Bill 975 into law.

The OSBI and accredited crime laboratories are directed to adopt rules and guidelines for the submission of tested kits by January 1, 2020.

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