ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - In the final hours of the 2019 session, state lawmakers approved a measure to preserve sexual assault evidence kits longer.
House Bill 282 is companion legislation to what the Georgia General Assembly passed in 2016, requiring the testing of more than 3,000 rape kits that were found warehoused in hospitals and evidence rooms.
The bill requires law enforcement agencies to keep sex assault evidence for 30 years from the time a suspect is arrested or 7 years after the suspect completes a jail sentence, whichever is longer. Evidence in cases for which no arrest is made must be preserved for 50 years.
"If you're a victim, every single night that you go to bed, you're wondering if that person is out there," said State Rep. Scott Holcomb, D-Atlanta, who sponsored HB 282. "This is a very expansive time frame, but it's also a defined timeline. So, I think it's going to make a real difference and I think what we're going to see is that holding the evidence for this period of time will help us solve cold cases. I'm one hundred percent. I'm confident that that is going to happen."
The bill passed both the house and the Senate with unanimous support. It now goes to the governor's desk for his signature.