Legislation proposed on rape test kits

State Rep. Antonio Parkinson, D-Memphis, wants to require that law enforcement officials use rape testing kits in investigating rape charges and put a time limit on how long the evidence can sit on a shelf, reports WMC-TV.

The proposal comes after reports that more than 12,000 rape kits went untested for decades in Memphis.

Parkinson says there is a dire need to bring closure to the women and men whose rape kits are backlogged.

“People may be running around who might be rapists on our streets and in our communities,” Parkinson said.

He says there is also a flip side.

“You have those that were accused and they haven’t been vindicated as to whether or not they raped someone,” he explained.

…There are three components to Parkinson’s bill:

– The rape kits must be submitted to the TBI or a TBI-authorized lab for testing within ten days.

– The lab has six months to analyze the kits.

– The TBI would be required to come up with a plan to manage the backlog.

“There is a need to solve this problem and so we’re going to give it our best effort to make sure these individuals who are victims on both sides of this are not victimized again,” Parkinson explained.

The State Legislature resumes January 14th.

It’s unclear how long the bill will take to make it through the General Assembly.