Nevada Democrats get behind time limits to test rape kits

CARSON CITY (AP) - Nevada Democrats are moving forward with a plan to impose time limits on police departments as well as crime laboratories to test rape kits.

The Assembly Judiciary Committee on Friday agreed on amended legislation requiring lab specialists to test forensic samples from sexual assault cases within 120 days of receiving them.

The change also seeks a yet-unspecified amount of state funding to address a backlog of rape kits that last month totaled roughly 6,400 solved and unsolved cases.

The amendment reverses Democratic Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson's effort earlier this week to forego time limits on laboratories.

Republican Attorney General Adam Laxalt has been pushing to speed up rape-kit testing and applauded Democrats' amendment Friday.

Benitez-Thompson declined to comment during a break in committee meetings. She later released a statement.

“I’m grateful to see this bill clear an important hurdle. I have been championing this issue long before session started, because I know this is one of the last frontiers women face when it comes to inequality in the justice system,” she wrote. “With this additional amendment, we are ensuring that victims get timely justice regardless of the cost. No price tag should limit anyone from getting their justice.”

Assembly Bill 97 will survive a hectic Friday deadline. Scores of other proposals will die at midnight.

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