COLUMBUS—State Representative Jim Hoops (R-Napoleon) today announced passage of legislation by the Ohio House of Representatives that would require Ohio’s Attorney General to create, operate and maintain a statewide tracking system for the processing of sexual assault examination kits. House Bill 719, sponsored by Rep. Dorothy Pelanda (R-Marysville), ensures that if an Ohioan suffers such an assault, he or she can utilize online tools to follow their personal examination kit, helping them gain peace of mind and closure during a traumatic time.
House Bill 719 would require the Attorney General to consult with the AG’s Advisory Group on Sexual Assault Examination Kit Tracking, and to then provide recommendations for establishing a statewide sexual assault examination kit tracking system (SKTS). Through the SKTS, Ohioans could confidentially and anonymously access information about their kits through barcodes, and follow kits through the examination process. The available information would include status and location of the kits, from the initial collection site to the storage or destruction stage.
“As we continue to develop new technology to assist in catching the offender who sexually assaulted an individual, we need to be there to support the victim,” said Hoops. “We also need to do everything we can to find and prosecute the perpetrator to the fullest extent of the law.”
Under current law, unchanged by HB 719, a law enforcement agency that investigates a specified sex offense must forward the contents of a sexual assault examination kit in its possession to Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCII) or another crime lab within 30 days for DNA analysis.
Funding for the tracking system will come from the federal Victims of Crime Fund. House Bill 719 is supported by current Attorney General Mike DeWine. Having passed out of the House, the bill now awaits consideration by the Ohio Senate.