Madison, WI – Today, Governor Evers signed Assembly Bill 36 into law. This legislation creates a timeline for the processing of sexual assault kits by the State Crime Lab. The bill, authored by State Representative David Steffen (R-Howard) and State Senator Jesse James (R-Altoona), builds upon legislation passed last session that worked to eliminate the state’s backlog of sexual assault kits by creating processing and protocol requirements for law enforcement and health care professionals.
“I’m grateful for the collaboration between the Legislature, Department of Justice, State Crime Lab and Governor’s office in getting this victims’ rights legislation signed into law. Guaranteeing the swift processing of kits prioritizes victims within our criminal justice system and ensures that they have the information they need in order to pursue justice,” said Rep. Steffen.
This law requires that the State Crime Lab begin processing kits within five days of receipt and complete the processing no later than 60 days after processing begins. This timeline applies for kits involving cases where the perpetrator is unknown as well as cases related to an investigation involving a suspicious death. Under this new law, all other kits would be required to be processed within six months.
“We must continue partnering with stakeholders across our state on this issue. As a cop, I know how mentally and emotionally exhausting this crime can be on victims. Having these extra efforts in place to speed up the processing time for victims, families and beyond is a win-win for Wisconsin,” said Sen. James. For more information please contact Representative Steffen or Senator James. Their offices can be reached at Rep.Steffen@legis.wisconsin.gov or Sen.James@legis.wisconsin.gov.