SACRAMENTO — Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale), Vice-Chair of Assembly Public Safety Committee and member of the Assembly Budget Committee announces the inclusion of his request to allocate $4 million for reducing the backlog of sexual assault forensic evidence kits in the state budget.
This allocation will be available for local law enforcement agencies and crime laboratories with kits that have been sitting idle. This money does not expire and will be in the Sexual Assault Evidence Submission Grant Program until fully dispensed. The budget request was simultaneously ran along with a legislative proposal that would have ended the backlog by 2024, an effort Assemblyman Lackey has been working on since 2019.
“I am overjoyed that this dedication of resources will assist victims of violent crime in their trauma recovery process for years to come”, said Assemblyman Lackey. He went on to say, “The backlog is often discussed as an aggregate – but each kit represents an individual working to heal physically, emotionally and psychologically. The very least we can do is affirm their pain by testing the DNA evidence provided. These hours-long exams can be traumatizing. It would be further destabilizing to know that thereafter no serious action was taken to limit this happening to another person”.
It costs between $600-1,000 to test an individual kit. This allocation has the potential to dispense with 4,000 kits. There is an ongoing grant program of $2 million that is currently working to dispense with 2,000 kits. However, California’s Attorney General released a 2020 audit of the backlog detailing the 13,929 kits in the possession of local law enforcement and crime laboratories.
This request was supported by the National Association of Social Workers – California, Crime Victims United, Joyful Heart Foundation, Natasha’s Justice Project, University Survivors Movement, Leda Health, California Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners Association, and Academy of Forensic Nursing. These groups represent victim-survivors and providers with first-hand knowledge of the life-changing circumstance of testing an individual kit.
Assemblyman Lackey proudly represents the 36th Assembly District, which contains portions of Kern, San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties, including the communities of Lancaster, Palmdale, Santa Clarita, Quartz Hill, Acton, Boron, Littlerock, Pearblossom, Mojave, Rosamond, California City, Phelan and Piñon Hills.