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Governor Fallin Welcomes Everyone Attending Task Force on Sexual Assault Kit Reforms

The Journal Record Legislative Report

July 30, 2018

Gov. Fallin spoke today to her task force working to address the backlog of rape kits that have been untested and unaccounted for over the year. She expressed appreciation for their attendance in light of her executive order a few months ago calling for its creation. She stated that sexual assault is a terrible crime that should happen to no one, but if and when it does happen, victims need to be cared for and the reporting system needs standardization. She has thanked the task force for their work so far, and Sen. Floyd (D-OKC), who could not be there today, for her tireless work. There were several topics for which the task force has been charged to find a solution, including standardizing the testing system and resolving the backlog of untested rape kits statewide.

There have been some delays, but law enforcement of late has largely been more responsive on what their backlogs are, and the list of agencies currently not reporting on their numbers has been cut to 60 from 120 last month. The Governor is happy with their work thus far, and looks forward with working with them through the end of the year. She said more work needs to be done, but what the work done thus far has been very helpful already in improving cooperation and collaboration on addressing the issue. After Fallin thanked them for their work, she turned it over to them. One of the members thanked Fallin for establishing the task force in the first place after the legislative failure this session before she departed.

With respect to the subcommittees, the subcommittee on the standardization of testing was unable to do much work since the last meeting, but more will be done by the time of the next meeting. The other subcommittee concerning accepting and processing previously unsubmitted kits for testing is accruing new members from the membership of the task force, and discussing how the various law enforcement agencies would submit untested kits to OSBI. One concern on doing more tests is whether some grant funding is received to address some of the backlog. Also mentioned is that there is an interim study on part of the work of the task force is studying, possibly Rep. Bush’s on DNA Testing for those booked into county jails, where the task force will play a role in addressing.

The next meeting on August 9th was cancelled, and a conference concerning the issues of the taskforce will be occurring on the 13th when the next schedule meeting thereafter would occur, which will likely lead to a rescheduling. JRLR will tweet out the rescheduled time when it is posted.

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