Missouri Congresswoman Ann Wagner pushed through a bill to reauthorize federal funding for rape kit testing as states struggle with a backlog of samples. The Debbie Smith Act is authorized to provide up to $151 million in funding per year through Fiscal Year 2019. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, Congress appropriated $117 million in 2015.
Wagner Wednesday spoke in the U.S. House about the bill she co-sponsored with New York Democrat Carolyn Maloney.
In Missouri, Attorney General Eric Schmitt created a task force eight months ago to assess the problem, beginning with an inventory of untested kits that remain at law enforcement agencies and hospitals.
“We have one hundred percent compliance from all the hospitals now and we’re getting to that last little bit with law enforcement agencies. So we’re looking to make an announcement very soon about the conclusion of phase one, which then allows us to get, by way of the grant process, to phase two, which is a tracking system for law enforcement and for victims — and ultimately the testing phase,” Schmitt told Missourinet this week.