Texas Lawmakers Advance Sex Assault Bill

Hospitals would have to provide enhanced treatment for victims of sexual assault under a proposal advancing in the Texas Legislature.

In a 31-0 vote on Wednesday, the Texas Senate approved SB 1191 by Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth. The bill would require nearly every hospital to either provide the resources necessary to gather physical evidence or to provide a transfer to a different hospital.

"This is victory for care, compassion and smart law enforcement.  I wrote this bill to help victims of sexual assault, preserve evidence after these horrible crimes are committed, and help bring to justice the perpetrators of these crimes," said Davis.

Last month, lawmakers heard testimony from a woman who drove to three different hospitals seeking to preserve the physical evidence. Her attacker went free.

The bill would also require a state agency to keep a list of hospitals that perform the service.

Separate budget proposals include millions of dollars to test a backlog of more than 22,000 evidence kits.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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