Leyva Bill Requiring Rape Kit Testing Heads to Governor’s Desk

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Without a single 'No' vote in the Senate and Assembly, historic legislation authored by Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) requiring law enforcement agencies and forensic laboratories promptly analyze and test all newly collected rape kit evidence in California advanced today to the Governor for consideration.

Sponsored by Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley, Joyful Heart Foundation, and Natasha's Justice Project, SB 1449 follows federal best practices and ensures that victims reporting sexual assault across California will have equal access to swift submission and analysis of forensic evidence associated with their cases.

The Bill ensures justice for survivors and helps put rapists behind bars where they belong.

Under the legislation, newly collected rape kits must be submitted within 20 days and tested no later than 120 days after receipt in order to prevent the development of backlogs of forensic evidence in evidence rooms or laboratories.


Op/Ed: Adding My Voice and Story to the Many Who Were Once Silenced by Violence


Testing DNA evidence in rape kits can identify an unknown assailant, link crimes together, identify serial perpetrators, and exonerate the wrongfully convicted.

"I am proud that California is again on the cusp of making history by standing alongside rape victims and making sure that the rape kits associated with their cases are analyzed so that we can finally hold their rapists accountable for their crimes," Senator Leyva said.  "As the author of SB 813 that eliminated the statute of limitations on rape in California, I know that SB 1449 will help to further ensure justice for victims by helping to identify rapists and ultimately put them behind bars. After having been raped and then undergoing an invasive rape kit exam, it's unconscionable that a victim would be led to believe that their rape kit would be tested promptly and then have that kit sit for months or years on a shelf.  I am hopeful that SB 1449 will soon be signed into law so that California can continue to lead the way on protecting victims and making sure that rapists are held to account for their cowardly and reprehensible actions."

As a companion bill to SB 1449, AB 3118—authored by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and coauthored by Senator Leyva—would require each law enforcement agency, crime lab, medical facility, or any other facility that possesses sexual assault evidence kits to conduct an audit of all untested kits in its possession and report findings to the Department of Justice.  AB 3118 passed from the Legislature on Monday.

"Sexual assault survivors deserve justice, and a rape kit sitting on a shelf collecting dust is not justice," noted Assemblymember Chiu. "To truly address the backlog, we need to know how many untested kits exist in California, and we must test all kits moving forward to ensure we do not increase that backlog."

Currently serving as the Vice Chair of the California Legislative Women's Caucus, Senator Leyva authored legislation signed into law to eliminate the statute of limitations on rape (SB 813) in 2016 and to criminalize sextortion (SB 500) in 2017.  The Senator is also presently leading efforts to ban secret settlements in cases of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and sex discrimination in California (SB 820).

During its legislative journey, SB 1449 has been supported the California District Attorneys Association, City of Sacramento, Crime Victims United, State Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma, Investigative Lead, LLC, Los Angeles Professional Peace Officers Association, and San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan.


Chiu Bill to Audit Backlog of Untested Rape Kits Passes Senate


Along with the diverse coalition of organizations noted above, the three bill sponsors have worked diligently to help ensure passage of SB 1449 from both the Senate and Assembly.

Here is what they have stated:
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley: "For years, I have been fighting to eliminate the backlog of sexual assault kits and ensure that never again will California see any backlog of these vital pieces of forensic evidence.  I am very pleased that today, we are one step closer to this goal. Once SB 1449 is signed into law, victims of sexual violence will be assured that evidence collected from their bodies will be handled in a professional and timely manner, enabling law enforcement and prosecutors to identify and bring to justice those who commit sexual assault. I thank Senator Leyva for authoring and championing this important piece of legislation."

Joyful Heart Foundation Director of Policy & Advocacy Ilse Knecht: "Credit is due to the Californians in our Joyful Heart community who sent tens of thousands of letters, phone calls, social media messages, and emails to their legislators in support of SB 1449 and AB 3118. Together, these bills will position California as a role model for states across the country.  For too long, justice for survivors of sexual assault in California has depended on the survivor's zip code. With the Governor's signature, SB 1449 will put an end to that practice, and take important next steps to test all rape kits. That means justice for survivors, accountability for serial predators, and safer communities for all. We are grateful to Senator Connie Leyva and Assemblymember David Chiu for their determination and commitment to getting these bills through each chamber."

Natasha's Justice Project Founder Natasha Alexenko: "My rape kit went untested for nearly a decade while the man that raped me a gun point continued his crime spree across the nation. I have the deepest respect for the community leaders, elected officials, and survivors whose altruism and dedication towards this issue should serve as an inspiration to all."

Haute Tease

  • Business/Finance: CNBC’S Becky Quick Interviews Walmart CEO Doug McMillon

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    At the recent CNBC Evolve Conference held in Los Angeles, Becky Quick, the co-anchor of CNBC’s Squawk Box interviewed the president and CEO of Walmart, Doug McMillion on the future of the superstore as it fights online options and recent tragedies.

     
  • LION Review – Powerful Stand Out Performances In This Remarkable True Story

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    LION, from The Weinstein Company, presents a powerful story of a boy lost in one of the most dangerous cities in the world for children, of escape, of and finally finding hope again decades later.

     
  • SPRING INTO SPRING!! Seven Ways to Be More Optimistic

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Feeling blue since we set the clocks ahead for daylight savings? Many of us who expect the morning sun to act as a booster woke up in the dark feeling sluggish which became the catalyst for self-depreciation. What to do?

     
  • UPDATED: From CANNES: Juanita Onzaga's short film "Our Song to War" has been selected for the Directors' Fortnight in Cannes

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    OUR SONG TO WAR by Juanita Onzaga is nominated for the  L’ŒIL D'OR  – Documentary Award at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. L’Œil d'or recognises documentaries selected for the festival and will be presented on Saturday, May 19th. 

     
  • CNBC Investigates: Gift Card Crime Fueling Opioid Addiction Across The U.S.

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    In the latest installment of CNBC Investigates, CNBC's Contessa Brewer, in an original report, is uncovering how gift card crime is fueling opioid addiction across the U.S. Clips aired yesterday across Business Day Programming.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Trump/Supreme Court, Biden Leads, COVID Totals, Boeing, Ginsburg Legacy

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Trump, who is down in the polls with 44 days before the November 3, 2020 election, has announced he will move forward with a successor to fill the vacancy left by the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

     
  • UPDATE: Chicago’s Bloody Christmas Weekend Thankfully Ends; 2016 Expected to Be Third Highest

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Chicago’s bloody rampage continued Monday with a sharp spike in shootings and with five days before New Year’s Eve the 61 shootings, 50 wounded and 11 homicides, over the three-day holiday weekend bring the 2016 total to 785 homicides.

     
  • Bonhams Announces "Behind Closed Doors" Sale of SoCal Impressionist and Western Art

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    On August 4, Bonhams will offer important and fresh to the market works in the sale of California and Western Art. Featured are 161 works from notable collections of Barron Hilton, Russell Chatham, and The Kelton Foundation, among others.

     
  • Havana 1920 San Diego Review - Delicious Cuisine; Tropical Libations; Authentic Décor; The Spirit of Cuba

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    San Diego tourists and locals alike are hailing Havana 1920, which opened its downtown doors in late 2017 in the city's famed Gaslamp Quarter. Havana 1920, was conceived by the GBOD Hospitality Group with a kitchen helmed by Chef Anthony Porras.

     
  • Justice Watch: Jealousy, Greed, and The Seven Deadly Sins – The Victim X Story Pt.3

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Over the last two decades sexual violence has received greater attention, as victims demand justice and are willing to dedicate significant time to ensuring their voices are heard and the crime committed against them are not neatly covered.

     
  • Fall Shoe Fashion - From Babies to Babes Finding The Right Fit

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    There is something enchanting when the foliage turns gorgeous hues and the air is crisp,autumn is traditionally the perfect time to spruce up the family’s fashion sense and here are a few fashion finds that’ll have everyone  steppin’ out in style.

     
  • London Technology Week 2016 Set To Showcase Best Of British Fashion Tech

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    This year’s launch event of London Technology Week, Europe’s largest festival of technology, is set to bring together some of the UK’s leading fashion technology designers for a first of its kind fashion technology showcase. 

     
  • Africa's Hunters – Graphic New Streaming Smithsonian Earth Series Follows Wildlife in Zambia’s Luangwa Valley

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Africa’s Hunters from Smithsonian Earth invites viewers into this world-renowned wildlife haven to witness the around-the-clock challenges for survival of some of Africa’s fiercest predators often manifesting into stolen kills, intimidation and even cub snatching.

     
  • Standing Up Review – Family Fun with Big Heart

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    “Standing Up,” from ARC Entertainment, presents a dramatic, coming of age adventure of two misfit tweens who, through fate, end up at the same summer camp and begin a lifelong journey.

     
  • The Annette Bening Retrospective: Four of the Finest

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Annette Bening Retrospective, held at Laemmle’s Music Hall in Beverly Hills, showcased four of Annette Bening’s finest film performances over the past two decades beginning with her most recent Academy Award nominated role as Nicole Allgood in THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT.