Bill Summary for H 945 (2017-2018)

Summary date: 

May 16 2018

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2017-2018 Session
House Bill 945 (Public) Filed Wednesday, May 16, 2018
AN ACT TO CREATE THE STATEWIDE SEXUAL ASSAULT EVIDENCE COLLECTION KIT TRACKING SYSTEM AND TO REQUIRE TESTING OF PREVIOUSLY UNTESTED SEXUAL ASSAULT EVIDENCE COLLECTION KITS, AS RECOMMENDED BY THE JOINT LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY.
Intro. by Boles, Davis.

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Bill summary

Enacts GS 114-65, establishing the Statewide Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit Tracking System (System) within the State Crime Laboratory. Requires all sexual assault evidence collection kits purchased or distributed under GS 143B-1201 on or after October 1, 2018, to be trackable and comply with the requirements of the System. Directs the Director of the State Crime Laboratory (Director) to implement protocols and administer the System, and the Secretary of the Department of Public Safety (Secretary) to adopt rules and guidelines for agencies required to participate in the System. Requires the Director to ensure that the System protects victim information from disclosure to nonparticipating agencies. Establishes that information in the System is confidential and not public record. 

Requires participation in the System and compliance with established protocols, rules, and guidelines from all medical providers, law enforcement agencies, forensic laboratories, or other persons or entities having custody or use of any sexual assault evidence collection kit (kit) in the State. Requires participating entities to be permitted to access the entity's tracking information through the System.

Establishes that it is State policy to ensure victims of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault can track and determine whether forensic testing of the kit has been completed.

Further directs the Director to implement protocols and the Secretary to adopt rules and guidelines to ensure previously untested kits are trackable and entered into the System. Requires entities having custody of previously untested kits used for forensic medical examination to comply with established protocols, rules, and guidelines. Defines previously untested sexual assault evidence collection kit to mean any kit that has not undergone forensic testing and was identified and included in the 2017 statewide inventory of kits in law enforcement custody pursuant to Section 17.7 of SL 2017-57. Requires law enforcement in custody of a previously untested kit to take reasonable measures to provide appropriate tracking information to the affected victim.

Requires the Director to submit an annual report to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety, beginning October 1, 2019, with relevant information regarding tracking-enabled kits and efforts to track and test previously untested kits for the previous fiscal year, as specified.

Amends GS 143B-1201, authorizing funds appropriated to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) for the Assistance Program for Victims of Rape and Sex Offenses to be used to purchase and distribute sexual assault evidence collection kits (was, rape evidence collection kits) approved by the Director (was, by the State Bureau of Investigation). Directs the Secretary to require that all kits purchased or distributed on or after October 1, 2018, are compatible with the System established by new GS 114-65.

Directs the Secretary to convene a working group to make recommendations regarding the testing priority of untested kits identified in the 2017 Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit Law Enforcement Report made pursuant to Section 17.7 of SL 2017-57. Sets out the composition of the working group, and charges the working group with developing findings and recommendations to identify which untested kits can be tested, the priority order for testings the kits, and a statewide protocol for testing future kits. Directs the Secretary to submit the working group's findings and recommendations to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety by December 1, 2018.

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