(Washington, D.C.) – An effort to reduce the nation’s backlog of sexual assault evidence has taken a step forward.

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee has approved eastern Missouri Congresswoman Ann Wagner’s bill that would provide federal funding to law enforcement to analyze untested rape kits. The bill would extend the funding through Fiscal Year 2029 to crime labs in all 50 states, including Missouri.

“There are far too many victims who have had to go without justice due to the unconscionable rape kit backlog. My bill, the Debbie Smith Act of 2023, will provide critical funding to our state and local law enforcement so rapists and other violent offenders can be identified and held accountable for their horrific crimes. Thank you to the House Judiciary Committee for advancing this important bill, and I look forward to the whole House showing our support for victims by passing this bipartisan legislation.”

According to Wagner, since the program was first enacted in 2004, it has directly supported the analysis of nearly 1.8 million DNA cases, resulting in more than 308, hits in the federal DNA criminal database – representing 56% of all DNA matches.

Wagner is a Republican from Ballwin.

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