ATLANTA (AP) – Gov. Nathan Deal has signed legislation aimed at ensuring that rape kits for sexual assault victims are processed quickly.
The proposal that became law Tuesday is aimed at preventing kits from becoming backlogged at hospitals or law enforcement agencies around the state. Starting July 1, law enforcement must collect the kits from hospitals within 96 hours and submit them for testing within 30 days.
The proposal nearly stalled in the General Assembly, when state Sen. Renee Unterman refused to allow a hearing. Unterman, a Buford Republican, said a forthcoming federal grant would fix any backlogs. She eventually relented and the bill passed in the session’s final hours.
Rep. Scott Holcomb, an Atlanta Democrat who proposed the change, received a standing ovation from House members of both parties after their final vote.