Wisconsin Senate passes sexual assault kit protocols

Wisconsin Senate

MADISON — The Wisconsin Senate overwhelmingly approved two bills that would establish protocols for handling sexual assault evidence kits.

A backlog of untested kits has been an issue in Wisconsin and across the country for years.

The proposals have broad bipartisan support. The measures were developed by lawmakers, victims’ rights advocates, law enforcement representatives and others.

Under one bill, if a victim wants to report an assault to police, nurses must notify officers within 24 hours of collecting the kit. Police must send the kit to the state crime lab within 14 days. If the victim doesn’t want to report it, the kit still goes to the lab within 72 hours for storage.

The other bill would require the state Justice Department to track kits.

The Senate passed the first bill on a voice vote and the second 33-0 on Tuesday. The measures go next to the Assembly.

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