Sen. John Cornyn Visits Grapevine Crisis Center to Rally Support for Bill to Help Eliminate Rape Kit Backlog

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, is calling on Congress to support a bill that would reauthorize funding to help states eliminate the backlog of untested rape kits. Cornyn spoke Thursday to law enforcement officials, advocates and sexual assault survivors during a visit to The Gatehouse women's crisis center to gather support for his bill reauthorizing the Debbie Smith Act of 2019. During the event, Cornyn participated in a round table with advocates and experts before taking a tour of the community that houses women and their children who have dealt with family violence and what he called the "scourge" of sexual assault. The Debbie Smith Act, which became law in 2004, provides grants that states can use to eliminate backlogs of untested DNA evidence collected after sexual assault, such as rape kits. The funding for the appropriation was reauthorized by Congress in 2008 and 2014, and the current funding runs out at the end of September. The bill unanimously passed the Senate in May but has not made any progress in the House of Representatives."We've attempted to reauthorize the Debbie Smith Act, which you think would be a noncontroversial easy thing to do, but ... nothing is easy in Washington," Cornyn said Thursday. Cornyn's bill would reauthorize funding for the act through 2024.Cornyn said he was confident his bill would pass the House eventually, but he didn't see any reason to delay.  Continue reading...

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