HARRISBURG – A bill sponsored by Senator Wayne Langerholc Jr. (R-35) that will address Pennsylvania’s backlog of untested rape kits was signed into law.
Act 164 of 2018 will reduce the backlog of untested kits by creating a commission of local and state agencies to review funding needs and communications.
The law also establishes a hotline for hospitals to call if a rape kit is not picked up within 72 hours and clarifies ambiguous language in existing state law.
Langerholc said the new law will better protect Pennsylvania communities and help law enforcement to identify and arrest perpetrators of sexual violence.
“The backlog of untested rape kits is a nationwide problem that serves as a barrier to justice for far too many victims,” Langerholc said.
“I am thankful that this new law will help us make significant progress toward testing more kits and getting more dangerous offenders off our streets.”
The new law is intended to supplement and strengthen the Sexual Assault Testing and Evidence Collection Act, a law approved in 2015 that mandates a more comprehensive process for evidence testing in cases involving sexual assault.
The legislation will go into effect in 60 days.
Act 164 of 2018 is the third piece of legislation authored by Langerholc enacted into law during the 2017-18 Legislative Session.