Two bills filed in Legislature to deal with rape-kit backlog in Florida


  • via

Two state legislators have filed bills this week that attempt to address the rape-kit backlog in the state of Florida. Earlier this month, Attorney General Pam Bondi held a press conference at which she announced that she'd be making a push to see that the state's backlog of "thousands" of untested rape kits is handled. Both of the two bills filed in the Legislature, one by Republican Rep. Janet Adkins, R-Fernandina Beach, and one by Democratic Rep. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, would attempt to prevent this kind of backlog (which is not unique to Florida, by the way – there are an estimated 400,000 untested rape kits gathering dust on shelves across the country) from happening again. 

HB 179, filed by Adkins, would require that DNA evidence collected in sexual assault cases be sent to a lab for testing within 21 days of being collected, and it asks the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to come up with a plan for making that happen. It also tasks the FDLE with submitting a plan to the governor and Legislature for testing all backlogged kits – that plan would be due June 30, 2017. The FDLE has been the recipient of funding from both the state, which allocated $300,000 in its 2015 budget for the department to study the situation, and Manhattan Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., who  just awarded more than $1.2 million to test some 2,000 backlogged kits. 

HB 167, filed by Cruz, asks that by Jan. 1, 2017, every law enforcement agency in the state "adopt a policy concerning the handling and submission for processing of forensic medical evidence collected in connection with an alleged sexual assault." The policies, the bill notes, should ensure that all evidence be processed and results returned to the agency "no later than 12 months after the date of the alleged sexual assault." 


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.