House Could Approve 'Rape Kit,' Needle Exchange Bills
The Florida House on Wednesday could give final approval to bills that would require faster testing of DNA evidence in sexual-assault cases and create a pilot needle-exchange program in Miami-Dade County.
The House on Tuesday agreed to take up versions of the bills that have already passed the Senate. If the House gives approval, the bills would be ready to go to Gov. Rick Scott.
The bill on testing DNA evidence (SB 636), sponsored in the House by Rep. Janet Adkins, R-Fernandina Beach, stems from disclosures last year that thousands of "rape kits" in sexual-assault cases have gone untested.
The bill, in part, would require law-enforcement agencies to submit rape kits for testing within 30 days of receiving the evidence. Testing would be required within 120 days of the submission of the kits.
Also Wednesday, the House could approve a long-debated proposal (SB 242), offered by Rep. Katie Edwards, D-Plantation, that would allow the University of Miami to establish a privately funded program aimed at preventing the spread of HIV and other diseases by intravenous drug users. The five-year pilot program would allow drug users to exchange dirty needles and syringes for clean needles and syringes.