Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 106

03/26/2015 08:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ HB 61 MILITARY MERITORIOUS AWARD LICENSE PLATES TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 61(STA) Out of Committee
*+ HB 117 SEXUAL ASSAULT EXAMINATION KITS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
             HB 117-SEXUAL ASSAULT EXAMINATION KITS                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
[Due   to   technical   difficulties  portions   of   audio   are                                                               
indiscernible throughout.]                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:11:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN announced  the first order of business  was HOUSE BILL                                                               
NO.  117, HOUSE  BILL  NO. 117,  "An Act  requiring  a report  on                                                               
untested sexual  assault examination  kits; and providing  for an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:12:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  moved  to adopt  the  proposed  committee                                                               
substitute  (CS)   for  HB  117,  labeled   29-LS0386\W,  Martin,                                                               
3/24/15, as  a work draft.   There being no objection,  Version W                                                               
was before the committee.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:12:54 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GERAN TARR,  Alaska State  Legislature, as  prime                                                               
sponsor, presented HB  117, and explained that in  terms of where                                                               
the sexual  assault kits are sent  and the timing in  testing the                                                               
kits, there is disorganization in  the current process.  She said                                                               
Alaska has  the highest rate  of rape  and sexual assault  in the                                                               
nation, and  opined that HB 117  is the first step  in addressing                                                               
the issue.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:14:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RAY FRIEDLANDER,  Staff, Representative Geran Tarr,  Alaska State                                                               
Legislature,  on behalf  of Representative  Tarr, prime  sponsor,                                                               
explained that the  Department of Public Safety  (DPS) finds this                                                               
bill to be  so important that it does not  foresee any additional                                                               
funds  or infrastructure  requirement in  implementing the  audit                                                               
and preparing a report for the  legislature.  She referred to the                                                               
fiscal notes and advised that the  original bill was drafted in a                                                               
manner that  the attorney  general would reach  out to  local law                                                               
enforcement agencies to obtain the  number [of kits], prepare the                                                               
report, and deliver  the report to the legislature.   She pointed                                                               
out  that  the  first  fiscal   note  is  $15,000;  however,  the                                                               
Department  of Public  Safety, subsequent  to  that fiscal  note,                                                               
expressed willingness to  "take this project on"  at zero dollars                                                               
because it is "that important."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. FRIEDLANDER,  in response to  Chair Lynn, advised there  is a                                                               
zero fiscal note.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:15:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. FRIEDLANDER  relayed that  under Version W  of HB  117, local                                                               
law  agencies  will,  by  July  1, 2015,  report  the  number  of                                                               
untested sexual  assault kits in  their possession.   In response                                                               
to Chair  Lynn, she confirmed  that this relates to  kits already                                                               
used, but not yet analyzed.   She said DPS will compile a report,                                                               
by September  1, 2015,  detailing the  number of  untested sexual                                                               
assault examination  kits stored by each  law enforcement agency,                                                               
the date  each kit was collected,  and present the report  to the                                                               
legislature.   She then referred to  page 2, line 10,  of HB 117,                                                               
which read:                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
          (d) In this section, "untested sexual assault                                                                         
     examination  kit" means  a  sexual assault  examination                                                                    
     kit that has been collected  but has not been submitted                                                                    
     to a laboratory operated  or approved by the Department                                                                    
     of Public Safety for either a serological or DNA test.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  FRIEDLANDER advised  this  is a  definition  of an  untested                                                               
sexual assault examination kit.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:18:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES asked  for clarification  of changes  that                                                               
were made in Version W.  She  pointed to bill language on page 1,                                                               
[Section  1], of  HB 117,  [regarding which  entity would  get an                                                               
inventory of untested sexual assault examination kits].                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. FRIEDLANDER made a comment  about how the length of "attorney                                                               
general" [the  entity chosen  in the  original bill  version] and                                                               
"Department of Public  Safety" [the entity changed  to in Version                                                               
W]  were different,  and how  that might  affect where  they fell                                                               
along a line.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR spoke  about the  change from  "the attorney                                                               
general", [on  page 1, line  12, of  the original bill],  to "the                                                               
Department of  Public Safety",  [on page 1,  line 13,  of Version                                                               
W].                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:20:03 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. FRIEDLANDER explained  that a sexual assault kit  or rape kit                                                               
is  a kit  or  box filled  with  tools  that may  be  used by  an                                                               
examiner  while collecting  evidence, such  as the  perpetrator's                                                               
deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), and from  the sexual assault victim.                                                               
The  contents of  the kit  vary by  state, she  noted, but  could                                                               
include the following: bags and  sheets, swabs, combs, envelopes,                                                               
blood  collection devices,  and  documentation forms.   She  said                                                               
Orin Dym,  forensic laboratory manager of  DPS's Scientific Crime                                                               
Detection  Laboratory (SCDL),  was present  to testify  and would                                                               
provide a demonstration.  She  relayed that the exam, in addition                                                               
to  those  materials,  can  also  contain  a  physical  component                                                               
wherein the examiner collects (indisc.).                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:20:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN (indisc.) the kit and other medical procedures.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. FRIEDLANDER stated she believes  so, and deferred to Mr. Dym.                                                               
She  continued that  the  evidence is  compiled  into the  sexual                                                               
assault kit, stored  to ensure contamination does  not occur, and                                                               
maintained  under a  chain  of custody  until  further action  is                                                               
taken with  the kit.   An  area of concern,  she pointed  out, is                                                               
that  some  of the  sexual  assault  kits  are shelved  by  their                                                               
respective   agencies  for   a   variety  of   reasons  and   are                                                               
[unprocessed].   (Indisc.) the  State of Alaska  does not  have a                                                               
single,  uniform protocol  utilized  by the  150 law  enforcement                                                               
agencies to do the same.   She said that, in essence, there could                                                               
be a  local law enforcement  agency in Alaska [in  possession of]                                                               
untested  sexual assault  kits  potentially  containing DNA  that                                                               
could  remove  rapists  from Alaska's  streets.    Unfortunately,                                                               
there  is no  data base  or  manner to  manage untested,  shelved                                                               
sexual assault kits,  she explained.  (Indisc.) there  has been a                                                               
national  movement,  and  states  conducting  audits  have  found                                                               
thousands  of  untested  sexual assault  kits  sitting  on  their                                                               
shelves contributing  to a major  rape kit backlog.   In response                                                               
to a  question from Chair  Lynn, she confirmed that  those audits                                                               
had  been  done  in  other  states.   (Indisc)  three  times  the                                                               
national  average  (indisc.).    She  suggested  the  capture  of                                                               
rapists was  delayed by  not having the  kits processed,  and she                                                               
questioned why the kits were not being processed.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:23:14 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LYNN opined  that  if someone  was  raped, an  examination                                                               
would  be  performed  with  a   rape  kit  and  possibly  shelved                                                               
someplace and, as a result, the  DNA from the rapist would not be                                                               
tested.   He pointed out  that if the DNA  was tested, it  may be                                                               
possible to match  it with someone already on file.   He ventured                                                               
that there are serial rapists  running loose on the streets whose                                                               
DNA is  on file,  but because  of the delay  in testing  the kits                                                               
these  rapists are  not arrested.   He  clarified that  while his                                                               
statement is not a fact, it could be occurring.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  FRIEDLANDER  answered that  is  correct.   She  offered  her                                                               
understanding  that  the  current  practice  is  to  process  the                                                               
perpetrator's DNA  when available;  however, before  the Combined                                                               
DNA Index System (CODIS) - a  database used by the Federal Bureau                                                               
of Investigation (FBI) - existed,  it was difficult for states to                                                               
process DNA, so  some states kept untested rape  kits dating back                                                               
to  the  '70s and  '80s.    She  added  she was  not  comfortable                                                               
speaking  "on  that  particular  topic," but  noted  she  had  "a                                                               
variety of reasons why kits aren't tested."                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN (indisc.) and while there  may not be a known suspect,                                                               
someone's DNA may be on file [from some other crime].                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  offered that the prosecution  of these cases                                                               
may not happen  immediately because the case may not  go to trial                                                               
for a long  period of time.  She highlighted  that for the period                                                               
of time the  testing has not taken place, that  individual may be                                                               
committing other  crimes; therefore, she pointed  out, expediency                                                               
to the process is vital.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN surmised that the matter  will not go to trial without                                                               
a suspect,  and the suspect  will not be  found until the  DNA is                                                               
tested.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:26:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. FRIEDLANDER advised that working  in conjunction with Senator                                                               
Berta  Gardner,  the bill  sponsor  asked  Legislative Legal  and                                                               
Research Services to conduct a  research brief to determine:  how                                                               
many  untested kits  are  in Alaska,  which  laboratories have  a                                                               
backlog, and the reasons [the kits  were untested].  She said the                                                               
aforementioned  Mr.  Dym, when  asked  by  Legislative Legal  and                                                               
Research Services about  the number of kits,  responded, "I don't                                                               
know -  the department  does not know  how many  completed sexual                                                               
assault evidence  collection kits have  been utilized by  the law                                                               
enforcement agency  but not  yet submitted to  the crime  lab for                                                               
testing."  Further,  she said, Alaska has  no policy, regulation,                                                               
or  statute establishing  timeframes for  testing sexual  assault                                                               
kits,  and  no  federal  mandate   requires  coordination.    She                                                               
reiterated that  Alaska has 150  local law  enforcement agencies,                                                               
and  it is  difficult to  know how  many untested  sexual assault                                                               
kits there are, even at SCDL.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:27:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. FRIEDLANDER said  that prior to February 1,  2015, there were                                                               
no requirements  by SCDL to return  the kits back from  local law                                                               
enforcement  agencies, hospitals,  or other  agencies.   She said                                                               
beginning February 1,  SCDL requires that all kits  are sent back                                                               
to  the lab,  which could  offer  a better  understanding of  the                                                               
number of  kits collected and analyzed;  however, the requirement                                                               
was made  only of the  Alaska State  Troopers (AST) and  does not                                                               
include  all of  the 150  local law  enforcement agencies  in the                                                               
state.  Further,  it does not require the State  Troopers to send                                                               
in kits  [collected] prior  to February 1,  2015.   She explained                                                               
that SCDL  has a thorough  protocol for logging evidence  such as                                                               
rape  kits, but  no procedure  to capture  the data  or create  a                                                               
uniform process  to ensure  kits are  not lost  or shelved.   She                                                               
related that when agencies send a  kit into the lab, it may label                                                               
the  kit in  a  completely different  manner  than SCDL's  label,                                                               
which could make accounting for  the kits difficult.  In response                                                               
to  Chair Lynn,  she  confirmed there  is  no standardization  of                                                               
labeling.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:29:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR offered that as  it was described by Mr. Dym,                                                               
rape kits come  to SCDL with language in the  manner the officer,                                                               
or whoever  processed it, wrote  it - with no  standard protocol;                                                               
therefore, there is no easy  way to compare notes, because people                                                               
use  a  different   set  of  terms  to   describe  the  materials                                                               
submitted.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:30:27 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  FRIEDLANDER directed  attention to  a Legislative  Legal and                                                               
Research   Services   research   brief,   [from   Tim   Spengler,                                                               
Legislative Analyst, to Senator  Gardner, dated 2/13/15, included                                                               
in  the committee  packet], which  indicates the  number of  kits                                                               
tested in Alaska  in each of the last five  years, and shows that                                                               
443 kits had been tested in 2014.   She then referred to an email                                                               
correspondence [from  Dean Williams,  Special Assistant,  DPS, to                                                               
Ms.  Friedlander,  dated  3/24/15,   included  in  the  committee                                                               
packet],  which contains  a report  submitted by  [Mr. Dym]  that                                                               
indicates 395  kits were  submitted in  2014.   She said  Mr. Dym                                                               
explained the reason for the  discrepancy was that he had thought                                                               
the researcher  from Legislative Legal and  Research Services had                                                               
asked  for the  number  of cases  - not  kits.   Ms.  Friedlander                                                               
explained that this, again, shows  the difficulty in terminology:                                                               
a case may have many different  rape kits linked with it, because                                                               
there  could be  one used  for the  suspect and  another for  the                                                               
victim.  She  explained another reason for  the discrepancy could                                                               
be  that they  were  processing rape  kit  backlog from  previous                                                               
years.  She noted the sponsor  was surprised in that this is such                                                               
an important  and complicated issue,  yet no protocols  have been                                                               
developed.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:32:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  FRIEDLANDER directed  attention  to an  article from  Alaska                                                             
Dispatch News,  entitled, "New FBI definition  increases Alaska's                                                             
already  high rape  rate," [included  in  the committee  packet].                                                               
She advised the FBI lists that  there were 922 rapes in Alaska in                                                               
2013,  while the  aforementioned  brief lists  617  for the  same                                                               
year.  Provided that the rape  kits were used in conjunction with                                                               
every  rape, she  questioned what  happened to  the approximately                                                               
300 kits  not processed  and why  they did not  get tested.   She                                                               
expressed  that the  thought  of serial  rapists  on the  streets                                                               
because  of untested  kits is  frightening.   She noted  that the                                                               
difficulty in  conveying information  from the state's  crime lab                                                               
alone -  not including the  150 local law enforcement  agencies -                                                               
further demonstrates the need for an audit.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. FRIEDLANDER said DPS has  been supportive and guarantees that                                                               
an  audit will  not  require additional  infrastructure or  staff                                                               
time,  thereby,  allowing   a  zero  fiscal  note.     Local  law                                                               
enforcement agencies,  such as  the Anchorage  Police Department,                                                               
have begun  submitting numbers and  untested sexual  assault kits                                                               
[in anticipation  of the passage of  HB 117].  She  remarked that                                                               
the respective agencies involved  understand the importance of an                                                               
audit as  the first step  in addressing successful  management of                                                               
the kits.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:33:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. FRIEDLANDER stressed that the  audit will not only shed light                                                               
on the extent  of the untested sexual kit backlog,  but also help                                                               
qualify  Alaska to  receive  money from  the  U.S. Department  of                                                               
Justice,  the Office  of  Justice Programs,  and  "the Bureau  of                                                               
Justice"  in addressing  Alaska's  backlog.   She explained  that                                                               
being  able to  include, in  these grants,  information such  as:                                                               
Alaska has  "X" amount of  kits, reasons  why they have  not been                                                               
tested, and information on the  staff and laboratory capabilities                                                               
charged  with processing  the kits,  will best  assist Alaska  in                                                               
qualifying for these available funds.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:35:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VAZQUEZ  asked whether  it  is  possible for  the                                                               
victim to choose to not have a kit tested.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR answered that the  victim could choose not to                                                               
press charges, and  the rape kit would not  automatically have to                                                               
be tested.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LYNN clarified  that  the question  was  whether a  victim                                                               
could choose  not to  be tested.   In response  to Representative                                                               
Tarr,  he stated  that pressing  charges and  choosing not  to be                                                               
tested are two different issues.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  explained that  SCDL receives a  request for                                                               
services from  the prosecuting  agency, but if  the crime  is not                                                               
prosecuted, there  would be no  request for service.   She added,                                                               
"So, there's the potential for that to be another problem."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:36:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VAZQUEZ asked  whether  (indisc.)  came from  the                                                               
prosecutor's office rather than from a law enforcement agency.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR opined they could  come from both, as the law                                                               
enforcement  agency  would be  working  in  conjunction with  the                                                               
prosecuting agency.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ  asked for further details  regarding what                                                               
happens  if a  victim does  not  want the  kit to  be tested  and                                                               
notifies the police officer or trooper in that regard.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:37:37 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. FRIEDLANDER deferred to Mr.  Dym, but reiterated that she had                                                               
a list of reasons as to why kits go untested.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ  asked how  many victims request  that the                                                               
kits not be tested.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. FRIEDLANDER again deferred the question to Mr. Dym.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:38:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS requested the aforementioned list.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. FRIEDLANDER named the following  reasons:  cost of analysis -                                                               
local law  enforcement agencies sometimes only  pursue cases with                                                               
the  best chance  of being  solved;  cases in  which the  alleged                                                               
rapist  is not  a stranger  to the  victim whereby  the suspect's                                                               
identity  was not  an issue;  the  victim decided  not to  pursue                                                               
prosecution; other  issues with evidence, witnesses,  or victims,                                                               
resulting in a  decision that the case was  not prosecutable; the                                                               
lab  was  contacted by  the  submitting  agency to  withdraw  the                                                               
request for analysis; the kit  was collected beyond the timeframe                                                               
in which  detectable, scientific evidence would  remain; analysis                                                               
would not  yield interpretable findings owing  to the limitations                                                               
of the  scientific method;  tests with  low scientific  value may                                                               
take   up  to   14   months;  anonymous   reporting;  cases   not                                                               
prosecutable;  issues related  to consent;  and the  kit was  not                                                               
submitted to  the lab.  She  said the audit is  important in that                                                               
it  could,  at  least,  highlight   why  the  kit  had  not  been                                                               
processed.  She  suggested that catching even  one rapist through                                                               
processing  untested  sexual assault  kits  would  be worth  [the                                                               
effort] for Alaska.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:40:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG asked who  ultimately decides whether to                                                               
prosecute.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. FRIEDLANDER said she was not sure.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  suggested it was the  Department of Law                                                               
(DOL)  and  asked  whether  the  audit  process  includes  asking                                                               
questions  of  DOL,  since that  department  makes  the  ultimate                                                               
decision.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:40:35 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  opined that DPS would  coordinate the effort                                                               
of compiling necessary  information, and it would  be included as                                                               
one  of the  agencies among  the  150 law  enforcement and  other                                                               
agencies that  would be a part  of this.  She  indicated that DOL                                                               
would also submit information that would be part of the audit.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  stated  that DOL  makes  the  ultimate                                                               
decision to prosecute,  and suggested the sponsor  speak with DOL                                                               
to  "find out  additional information"  because without  doing so                                                               
"you won't get the ultimate decider."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:41:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ noted (indisc.)  definitive decision as it                                                               
is ultimately  the prosecutor (indisc.)  gets a file and  has the                                                               
kit tested believing  it is a good case,  (indisc.) that decision                                                               
before he  submits the  case to the  prosecutor is  her interest.                                                               
She  noted that  historically there  was a  "bad" backlog  within                                                               
SCDL before the new crime lab  was built.  Usually, she said, the                                                               
prosecutor had  to specifically request  the testing  because law                                                               
enforcement  did not  want to  proceed  with the  testing if  the                                                               
prosecutor was not  going forward with the case.   She recommends                                                               
clarifying that point rather than making assumptions.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:42:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER asked  the sponsor's  staff to  submit the                                                               
list of reasons she previously read.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS.   FRIEDLANDER   relayed  that   the   list   is  within   the                                                               
aforementioned Legislative Legal  and Research Service's research                                                               
brief.   She  directed  attention  to [a  letter  from the  Texas                                                               
Department  of  Public  Safety, dated  3/4/15,  included  in  the                                                               
committee  packet],  which  lists  reasons relating  to  its  own                                                               
untested sexual assault kits, which at one time reached 20,000.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:43:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG ventured that  another dimension to [the                                                               
backlog]  is a  lack  of resources.   He  added  that SCDL  would                                                               
accomplish more  if it  had more  money and  "that comes  back to                                                               
us."  He encouraged the sponsor to "take the circle around."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR  expressed appreciation  for  Representative                                                               
Gruenberg's comments, and acknowledged  that lack of resources is                                                               
a factor in  the low number of cases actually  going to trial and                                                               
is something that warrants consideration.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG responded,  "You bet,  because then  we                                                               
know where the faults may really lie."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:45:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ  said with regard  to that, the  Office of                                                               
the   District  Attorney   has   historically  been   chronically                                                               
understaffed  and under-resourced  which  made  it impossible  to                                                               
prosecute everything in  need of prosecution.   She asked whether                                                               
an  audit of  this  issue was  being conducted,  or  about to  be                                                               
conducted, regarding the backlog in SCDL.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  FRIEDLANDER answered  that  she  had not  heard  of such  an                                                               
audit, especially  on the untested  sexual assault  kits, because                                                               
this  audit  wouldn't  just  be  about  SCDL  as  it  would  also                                                               
coordinate the number of untested  sexual assault kits in the 150                                                               
local   law   enforcement    agencies,   hospitals,   and   other                                                               
departments.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ offered her  understanding that an overall                                                               
audit on SCDL was scheduled in  order to ascertain what was being                                                               
tested  or  not  tested,  and   she  said  she  would  like  more                                                               
information.  She opined that  the sponsor's timelines look good,                                                               
but may not be consistent with  the overall audit.  She cautioned                                                               
that  without considering  the overall  comprehensive audit,  the                                                               
audit proposed under HB 117 could end up being disjointed.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  deferred to Mr.  Dym, and she  explained she                                                               
was not aware of an overall  audit being planned, although, HB 40                                                               
would require performance reviews.   She offered that perhaps DPS                                                               
is next in line for a  performance review, and SCDL would be part                                                               
of that  consideration.   She stressed that  the overall  goal is                                                               
expediency and efficiency  in this process.  She  noted that Dean                                                               
Williams, of DPS,  was interested in potentially  moving back the                                                               
dates in the  legislation a bit, but that has  not been discussed                                                               
in conjunction with any other audit.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:48:35 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ORIN   DYM,  Forensic   Laboratory   Manager,  Scientific   Crime                                                               
Detection Laboratory  (SCDL), Department of Public  Safety (DPS),                                                               
relayed  that  under  statute,  SCDL and  DOL  are  charged  with                                                               
developing  sexual assault  kits  and forms;  therefore, the  lab                                                               
makes it  a priority to provide  the kits to agencies  across the                                                               
state free of  charge.  He explained that from  the moment a case                                                               
comes into  the lab  via a  request for  analysis, the  lab knows                                                               
exactly what it  has and where it  is at all times.   He said the                                                               
lab does  not know the status  of kits not submitted  back to the                                                               
lab.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:50:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER   said  it  had  been   portrayed  to  the                                                               
committee that  DPS is eager  for HB  117 to pass,  which strikes                                                               
him as  odd because it would  increase the cost of  analysis, and                                                               
yet there is a  zero fiscal note.  He said he  would like to hear                                                               
from DPS, on paper, with regard to its stance on HB 117.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DYM, responding  from  the perspective  of  SCDL, said  that                                                               
determining  what kits  have not  been submitted  that should  be                                                               
submitted is a good thing.   He deferred addressing the specifics                                                               
on how that occurs to a department head.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:52:07 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN  asked Mr. Dym whether  the lab matches the  number of                                                               
kits that are sent in with the number it sent out.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. DYM responded that the kit  is an inventory item for agencies                                                               
that order  a year's supply  of kits at  one time.   For example,                                                               
the  Anchorage  Police  Department  orders (indisc.).    He  said                                                               
another complication  in tracking  the kits is  that many  of the                                                               
AST  posts become  distribution  hubs for  agencies beyond  them.                                                               
For example, the AST in Bethel  may order 80 kits, which are then                                                               
pushed  out  to  other  regions.   In  response  to  a  follow-up                                                               
question from  Chair Lynn,  he estimated that  at any  given time                                                               
there are  approximately 500 kits  in inventory  within different                                                               
agencies throughout the state.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:53:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DYM,  in  response  to Representative  Vazquez,  shared  his                                                               
professional  background.   In response  to a  follow-up question                                                               
from Representative  Vazquez, he  described the process  by which                                                               
the sexual  assault test  kits are submitted  as evidence  to the                                                               
lab,  and  explained  that  law  enforcement  agencies  submit  a                                                               
request for laboratory service form  - a contract to perform work                                                               
on the  evidence submitted.   He said police agencies  submit the                                                               
evidence, but  the lab also  communicates with DOL, which  may be                                                               
involved in the decision-making on some of the larger cases.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:55:20 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ asked the average  time required to test a                                                               
kit.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DYM  clarified  that when  considering  service  for  sexual                                                               
assault, a kit could be a single item of evidence or a multi-                                                                   
evidentiary  item  request  for   service;  "it's  not  the  only                                                               
evidence  that's  submitted."    He stated  that  the  lab  could                                                               
complete a  test in 24 hours  when the need was  urgent, but that                                                               
is not  the normal turnaround  time.  Routine analysis,  start to                                                               
finish,  of a  DNA case  is six  weeks, and  cases are  worked in                                                               
batches for  efficiency's sake.   He  explained that  the current                                                               
average turnaround  time for DNA  cases - including all  types of                                                               
crimes, not just  sexual assault - is 170 days.   He related that                                                               
the oldest  sexual assault  request goes back  to 16  months from                                                               
today's date, which  he said is a vast improvement  over the six-                                                               
plus  years previously.   He  stated  that SCDL  has been  making                                                               
tremendous  headway on  the backlog,  and although  not where  it                                                               
wants to be yet, it will continue to make improvements.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN commented that it could  take six months from the time                                                               
the  lab  receives the  kit  back  before  the test  results  are                                                               
available.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. DYM reiterated that the  oldest sexual assault case currently                                                               
waiting at the lab to be analyzed is 1.5 years old.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:57:16 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ asked  what could be done  to shorten that                                                               
timeline.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. DYM offered  that SCDL has invested time in  reworking how it                                                               
approaches   scientific  examination   and  brought   in  several                                                               
independent   experts   to   evaluate  the   process   and   make                                                               
recommendations in streamlining it.   He indicated that a goal is                                                               
to increase  training and the  number of analysts  performing DNA                                                               
tests.  He offered that  the lab recently completed retooling the                                                               
entire  process   of  biological  screening,  and   a  supervisor                                                               
presented  a paper  in that  regard  to the  American Academy  of                                                               
Forensic  Science,  because the  lab  stepped  into a  leadership                                                               
position on how it screens sexual  assault cases.  In response to                                                               
Representative Vazquez'  follow-up question, he said  the process                                                               
took "so  long" because the lab  has more business than  it could                                                               
complete in a  timely fashion.  When losing  an experienced staff                                                               
member,  it takes  the  lab  one to  two  years  to replace  that                                                               
individual at the same experience level and capacity, he said.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN expressed amazement at the  length of time it takes to                                                               
receive results.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:59:36 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VAZQUEZ commented  that  she is  not amazed,  and                                                               
asked  whether  either  the previous  or  current  governor  [had                                                               
intervened],  with regard  to  setting forth  an  action plan  to                                                               
remedy the situation of 1.5 years.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DYM  replied  that  he   routinely  reports  to  the  deputy                                                               
commissioner  and   the  commissioner   of  DPS,  and   that  the                                                               
information has gone  on to the governor's office as  to the plan                                                               
in addressing  the backlog.   He concurred  that 1.5 years  is an                                                               
excessive quantity  of time; however,  he views it as  a definite                                                               
improvement  over  six-plus  years,  with  a  goal  of  a  30-day                                                               
turnaround time on cases.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ  restated her question to  inquire whether                                                               
anyone  within the  lab  - Mr.  Dym's director  or  anybody in  a                                                               
leadership position - had attempted  to acquire more resources to                                                               
solve  this issue  and submitted  "some  type of  action plan  to                                                               
correct or remedy the situation."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DYM  noted  that  within  the  last  fiscal  year,  the  lab                                                               
requested  and  was  granted  an   additional  position  for  DNA                                                               
analysis to attempt to reduce  the turnaround time.  He indicated                                                               
that part  of the  funding request for  the new  crime laboratory                                                               
was to "ease congestion" and  increase [productivity] through the                                                               
use of "the DNA sciences."                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VAZQUEZ questioned  the additional  resources the                                                               
lab requires.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DYM  indicated  he  has  sufficient  equipment,  space,  and                                                               
staffing to  accomplish the aforementioned  goal, but  then asked                                                               
the desired  time frame  in accomplishing the  goal.   He offered                                                               
that  if the  goal  is  30 days,  he  recommends outsourcing  the                                                               
backlog  to a  private laboratory,  although that  would probably                                                               
take about  a year to accomplish.   He estimated that  the lab is                                                               
on track  to catch up with  the work itself in  approximately two                                                               
years, assuming he does not lose staff.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:02:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ opined  that two years is a  long time for                                                               
a victim's case to come to justice.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DYM  concurred and  said  there  are  a number  of  options,                                                               
especially in a scenario in which  "they're going to throw a pile                                                               
of money at  this and outsource it."  He  offered that 150 sexual                                                               
assault  cases could  take approximately  eight to  twelve months                                                               
for a  private laboratory to complete.   He indicated that  if he                                                               
could materialize five experienced  DNA analysts at his doorstep,                                                               
he could achieve the same  result; however, there are no contract                                                               
DNA  analysts  available  to  hire  in  long-term,  non-permanent                                                               
positions.     He  reiterated  that  subsequent   to  losing  one                                                               
experienced  analyst,  it  took  him one  year  to  find  another                                                               
analyst who would  accept a job offer in Alaska,  and another few                                                               
months to  get them working  - approximately  a year and  half to                                                               
recover that productivity.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:04:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ  asked whether  compensation is  the issue                                                               
in attracting qualified applicants.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DYM answered  that the  lab pays  at about  the forty-eighth                                                               
percentile  in the  country, and  receives between  0-1 qualified                                                               
applicants from a national search,  and then loses the applicants                                                               
when they  discover they may  never be able  to afford a  home in                                                               
Anchorage, which  is a large  issue.  He  offered that it  is not                                                               
just in the realm of DNA testing,  but in other areas of the lab,                                                               
such as finding  a latent print analysts.  He  added, "I will say                                                               
Scottsdale Police  Department has  also been advertising  for the                                                               
same timeframe, offering $30,000 a year  more than we do, and has                                                               
not successfully filled their position."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:06:03 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   VAZQUEZ   asked   whether  Mr.   Dym   had   any                                                               
suggestions.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. DYM said the backlog at SCDL  is his job to manage, and while                                                               
he plans to methodically improve  it and increase capacity, it is                                                               
not an  instantaneous process.   He explained  that the  lab just                                                               
retooled (indisc.) multiple screening  (indisc.).  He stated that                                                               
currently  when a  case  comes to  the lab,  within  30 days  the                                                               
initial process is  complete, and a report is sent  to the agency                                                               
with those findings.   He said SCDL is  "getting more information                                                               
today to give  to them than they  got a year ago."   He noted the                                                               
next step is  to determine how to increase  capacity per analyst.                                                               
He suggested bringing in entities  to study the process and offer                                                               
input; however, he  said the current budget is  "tight for things                                                               
of that nature."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.   DYM,  in   response   to  a   series   of  questions   from                                                               
Representative Vazquez,  offered that SCDL's operating  budget is                                                               
$6 million.   He related  that there are currently  24 positions,                                                               
and of that $6 million, personnel  expenses are $3.8 million.  He                                                               
said the annual costs for the  electric bill and natural gas bill                                                               
are $240,000 and $100,000, respectively.   He indicated that SCDL                                                               
has  (indisc.)  million  in  prorates,   which  pay  for  network                                                               
infrastructure,   telephone   support,    the   Office   of   the                                                               
Commissioner's fee, and administrative services.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:08:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN asked Mr. Dym if  he had given any of this information                                                               
to the House Finance Committee.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. DYM  responded that this  was the  first time a  breakdown of                                                               
expenditures had  been requested.   He  reiterated that  point at                                                               
the request of Representative Vazquez.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LYNN  opined  that  both  the  House  and  Senate  Finance                                                               
Committees need to receive this information.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:09:27 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO   recollected  that  the   bill  sponsor                                                               
mentioned there  were inconsistencies  in collection of  the kits                                                               
and information  received by SCDL,  and he asked whether  Mr. Dym                                                               
is aware  of the training of  the people required to  collect the                                                               
specimens  and   why  there  might  be   inconsistencies  in  the                                                               
information  SCDL  receives.    He asked  whether  the  lab  ever                                                               
rejected a kit  because it was improperly  collected or pertinent                                                               
information was missing.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DYM  answered that  SCDL  has  made  changes to  its  online                                                               
requests for laboratory  services and, as of  October [2014], the                                                               
online form  requires additional information in  mandatory fields                                                               
for the  sexual assault kit in  that when the sexual  assault kit                                                               
box   is  checked,   a  supplemental   sheet  appears   requiring                                                               
additional  information in  mandatory fields  to close  that gap.                                                               
He  said  when an  officer  submits  a  kit, he/she  provides  an                                                               
evidence  item,  along  with  a   description  in  a  "free-text"                                                               
description  field.    He  said  the  descriptions  vary  widely,                                                               
including:   "kit," "kit collected  from" - and  the individual's                                                               
name, and "evidence  collected."  He said  predominantly the word                                                               
"kit" is utilized,  which is helpful when doing  a keyword search                                                               
to determine  how many kits  the lab has.   He specified  that if                                                               
someone gives  him the name  of a case, he  can look into  it and                                                               
report exactly  what the evidence  is on  that case, but  he said                                                               
that is "a  little bit of a  different search."  He  said that is                                                               
where  the  inconsistency  comes  out.     He  related  that  the                                                               
submitting agency owns the information  it sends to SCDL, and the                                                               
lab's job  is to  do the  analysis; therefore,  the lab  does not                                                               
alter their descriptions, because it is their evidence.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:11:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO presumed  there are  a set  of standards                                                               
for collection,  but he wondered  whether training is  lacking in                                                               
terms  of  putting  kits  together,  such  as  seals,  date,  and                                                               
initials.   He reiterated  his question as  to whether  some kits                                                               
may  become tainted  and unusable  due to  lack of  training, and                                                               
whether Mr. Dym  feels the manner in which kits  are submitted to                                                               
the lab are sufficient or tainted in some manner.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. DYM  explained that a  lot of  training is given  through the                                                               
Sexual  Assault  Response  Team   (SART)  training  program;  the                                                               
biological screeners actively  working the kits go  "out" to SART                                                               
trainings and, as  part of the program,  provide presentations on                                                               
the kits regarding what is performed  at the laboratory.  He said                                                               
the kits  are being  collected appropriately with  a good  set of                                                               
instructions, but  the real issue is  why a kit does  not come to                                                               
the laboratory.  He described  the current business model - which                                                               
he said may have to change - as follows:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     We are scientific analysis.   If there are questions to                                                                    
     be  answered for  the prosecution  of a  case, and  the                                                                    
     scientific evidence is needed  to answer that question,                                                                    
     we work  it.  In  situations where  scientific analysis                                                                    
     did not add  value or was not  needed for verification,                                                                    
     then the evidence was not  sent to the crime laboratory                                                                    
     because  it was  not  needed.   Some  examples of  that                                                                    
     would be a consent case,  where presence of the suspect                                                                    
     to  the  victim  is  not  in  question,  so  scientific                                                                    
     analysis  does  not  yield   an  answer  necessary  for                                                                    
     prosecution.  I  will add, though, keep in  mind we are                                                                    
     an arrestee state:  since  2007, if you are arrested of                                                                    
     a crime against  a person, you provide a  sample and we                                                                    
     put  that in  the  database.   So,  in  that case,  the                                                                    
     suspect is  still going into the  national database for                                                                    
     searching against other cases.   So, that need is being                                                                    
     met.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     In the  case of  a no-suspect  offense, that  should be                                                                    
     coming  to  the   crime  lab.    I  --   not  being  an                                                                    
     investigator,  I'm  not  sure what  circumstance  would                                                                    
     give rise to that not being analyzed.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:14:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ  reiterated her concern regarding  the 170                                                               
days taken  to test the  kits, and  Mr. Dym's best  suggestion in                                                               
the fastest manner  to deal with the backlog,  and what resources                                                               
are needed to address it.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. DYM  replied that currently  SCDL has the capacity  to handle                                                               
what  comes  in,  while  making   significant  decreases  in  the                                                               
backlog.  He recommended outsourcing  the suspect cases, in which                                                               
there is  a known  suspect, out  of the  backlog.   He emphasized                                                               
that  in no-suspect  cases, it  is critical  to get  the profiles                                                               
into  the national  database for  searching.   He explained  that                                                               
private laboratories do  not have permission to  upload data into                                                               
that national  database; that  work falls upon  SCDL.   He opined                                                               
that  relieving  the lab  of  suspect  cases  would allow  it  to                                                               
concentrate  on  the  backlog   of  no-suspect  cases,  and  both                                                               
projects would merge and complete  simultaneously, and that could                                                               
be the last  time a backlog in sexual assault  cases is discussed                                                               
at the  lab.  In  response to Representative Vasquez,  he relayed                                                               
that he has 60 no-suspect kits, and 111 suspect kits.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ asked  how fast Mr. Dym could  get the 111                                                               
suspect kits outsourced.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DYM  answered he  would  have  to follow  state  procurement                                                               
procedures,  and indicated  the last  procurement bid  process he                                                               
oversaw  took  three  months.    In  response  to  Representative                                                               
Vazquez'  follow-up  questions, he  said  if  he has  funding  to                                                               
commit to the  project, he could start the process  tomorrow.  He                                                               
estimated  the  funding  required   would  be  $3,000  per  case,                                                               
multiplied by 111.  In response  to Chair Lynn, he clarified that                                                               
one contract could be made for all 111 kits.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:19:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VAZQUEZ  asked whether  Mr.  Dym  could find  the                                                               
necessary $333,000 anywhere in his budget.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.   DYM  answered   that  based   upon  the   latest  budgetary                                                               
projections, SCDL's budget  will be at zero by July  1, 2015.  In                                                               
response  to  Representative   Vazquez'  follow-up  question,  he                                                               
responded that  the budget  for the upcoming  year on  the Senate                                                               
and House side is largely  unchanged, with the exception that the                                                               
vacant position for  a Forensic Scientist III  for the Controlled                                                               
Substances Discipline was relinquished.   He said that discipline                                                               
has an  average turnaround time  of 18 days; therefore,  he would                                                               
be hard-put to (indisc.) that position.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:20:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG asked  what can be done -  in looking at                                                               
the system as a whole,  not just legislatively, but budget-wise -                                                               
to make the system more effective, accurate, and expedient.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. DYM indicated the question may  be too large in scope for him                                                               
to be able to come up with  an answer on the spot.  Nevertheless,                                                               
he  spoke about  avenues  he  has been  pursuing  to improve  the                                                               
system.   He said he  has been  discussing the issue  with police                                                               
chiefs  and  representatives  of  the  state's  major  submitting                                                               
agencies   to  determine   how   best  to   close   the  gap   in                                                               
misunderstandings  and  improve  service  with each  other.    He                                                               
offered that  the DOL is  also present at  that table, as  is the                                                               
FBI representing federal  agencies.  He noted it  is an excellent                                                               
avenue  in  ascertaining  they   all  are  working  together  and                                                               
determining what is important.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:23:07 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LIEUTENANT RODNEY DIAL, Deputy  Commander, A Detachment, Division                                                               
of  Alaska State  Troopers, Department  of  Public Safety  (DPS),                                                               
advised  that  the  number  of   sexual  assault  kits  with  the                                                               
Department  of Public  Safety  (DPS) is  relatively  few, as  the                                                               
department's policy is to submit the  kits to SCDL after they are                                                               
obtained.   Under  the  proposed legislation,  he  noted, DPS  is                                                               
required  to  verify information  with  150  agencies across  the                                                               
state and  prepare a report.   He offered that the  department is                                                               
concerned about  the timeline in which  it is required to  do so.                                                               
He said that  allowing the department a few  additional months to                                                               
obtain the  information may result  in greater  participation and                                                               
better information  in determining individual cases.   Lieutenant                                                               
Dial related that he asked  his evidence technicians to conduct a                                                               
search  of  the  trooper  facilities   in  Southeast  Alaska  for                                                               
untested  sexual assault  kits  and advised  the  total was  four                                                               
kits:    two  were  obtained  in cases  later  determined  to  be                                                               
unfounded,  and  two  were  from   cases  where  prosecution  was                                                               
declined and  the testing of  the kits  was not requested  by the                                                               
Office  of the  District Attorney.   He  indicated that  in other                                                               
areas of the state, there  are larger evidence facilities, and as                                                               
an example,  Fairbanks has approximately 20,000  items stored, so                                                               
the   search   and   research   of   kits   will   take   longer.                                                               
Notwithstanding  that,  he  added  that  DPS  determined  it  can                                                               
[handle the inventory]  with its existing personnel  and a [zero]                                                               
fiscal note.   He offered examples of instances  wherein kits are                                                               
obtained, but do  not warrant testing, such as:   the sex act was                                                               
not  contested,  and  the  issue  is  consent;  the  issue  later                                                               
determined to be  unfounded; the kit was obtained  from a suspect                                                               
who subsequently  died; it was  believed the kit did  not contain                                                               
useable  DNA evidence;  or the  victim requested  the kit  not be                                                               
examined, but wanted it retained.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:26:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG   asked  whether  there   are  frequent                                                               
occasions  wherein the  victim declines  prosecution in  domestic                                                               
abuse cases.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LIEUTENANT  DIAL  answered  "not  so   much,"  in  that  DPS  has                                                               
approached  domestic  violence  cases  for many  years  from  the                                                               
standpoint that the state will take  up the case on behalf of the                                                               
victim - sometimes without the victim's participation.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG asked  whether the prosecutor [technical                                                               
difficulties]  when there  has been  coercion for  the victim  to                                                               
"back off," whether the state goes after that perpetrator.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
LIEUTENANT  DIAL  answered that  any  time  there is  an  initial                                                               
report   from  the   victim,  who   later   recants,  the   first                                                               
consideration of DPS  and the Office of the  District Attorney is                                                               
of coercion.  He  advised if the state can prove  a case where an                                                               
individual  intentionally  puts  pressure  on  a  victim  not  to                                                               
participate in  the prosecution, they  look into it  for possible                                                               
additional charges.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:29:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   KELLER   stated   his  assumption   that   every                                                               
controlled inventory  item has  a number, and  he pointed  to the                                                               
legislation  that discusses  examination kits  collected but  not                                                               
submitted to a lab for various  reasons.  He asked the definition                                                               
of  that terminology  and whether  Trooper  Dial anticipates  any                                                               
change.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:31:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LIEUTENANT DIAL  replied that the department's  current policy is                                                               
that all kits  go to SCDL, so  the kits in the  possession of the                                                               
department  are "legacy  cases."   He  described  those cases  as                                                               
being  fairly old,  or  cases  where the  kit  was obtained  with                                                               
"real"  odd  circumstances  that  made  sending  it  to  the  lab                                                               
unwarranted.   For example, he  explained, if he collected  a kit                                                               
from  a suspect  today and  tomorrow the  suspect dies,  the case                                                               
might not be sent in, although,  it is their policy to send every                                                               
case to SCDL,  which could be the reason some  of the older cases                                                               
are  still in  DPS's evidence  facilities.   He advised  that the                                                               
department does not track unused kits.   He added, "That could be                                                               
problematic ...."   He explained  that occasionally the  kits are                                                               
positioned  in   different  locations,  such  as   their  medical                                                               
facilities,  and sometimes  the kits  are (indisc.  - overlapping                                                               
voices),  while other  times the  kits  may become  damaged.   He                                                               
said, "Sometimes we'll  take those kits and  cannibalize them and                                                               
use elements of that kit  for (indisc. - shuffling noise) crimes.                                                               
He pointed  out that once  a kit is collected,  strict electronic                                                               
tracking  of  that  kit  is  implemented  and  it  is  considered                                                               
evidence.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:33:14 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ asked  what a kit is called  that has been                                                               
used to collect evidence but not returned to SCDL.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
LIEUTENANT DIAL  advised it  is referred to  as an  evidence item                                                               
and,  under  definition  in  the  electronic  records  management                                                               
system, as a "sexual assault kit."                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:34:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SKYLER  HEARN,   Assistant  Director,  Law   Enforcement  Support                                                               
Division,  Texas Department  of  Public Safety,  advised that  he                                                               
oversees  the Law  Enforcement Support  Division, which  includes                                                               
the crime  laboratory service,  and was  asked to  participate in                                                               
this hearing  as a  resource on the  bill.  He  said he  has more                                                               
agencies to poll,  but the timeframe provided in  which to report                                                               
the number  of untested  kits to the  Texas Department  of Public                                                               
Safety was  45 days.   He  advised it began  9/1/2012, and  as of                                                               
January  2015 the  department was  still receiving  reports.   He                                                               
pointed  out  that  most  agencies   in  Texas  do  not  have  an                                                               
electronic  method  of identifying  whether  or  not a  piece  of                                                               
evidence has  been to  a crime  lab, so they  have to  go through                                                               
every file  and every kit to  determine whether it has  been sent                                                               
and analyzed and returned or has not been tested.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:36:27 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ  referred to page  1, line 9,  with regard                                                               
to "untested sexual examination kits",  and opined there could be                                                               
confusion over a non-tested, brand new  kit that has been sent by                                                               
SCDL to the  law enforcement agency and sits  in inventory versus                                                               
a kit  wherein evidence has  been collected  and is sitting  on a                                                               
shelf,  untested.    She  pointed out  those  are  two  different                                                               
untested  kits.     She  suggested  distinguishing   between  the                                                               
different  kits, and  said she  would  like to  see an  amendment                                                               
clarifying that issue.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:37:59 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  advised she  could work with  the department                                                               
in  determining the  language, and  the audit  that would  follow                                                               
would distinguish  between the  two.  In  response to  a question                                                               
from Chair  Lynn, she stated  she would work with  the department                                                               
to address concerns and give the information to the committee.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:39:07 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HILARY   MARTIN,  Attorney,   Legislative   Legal  and   Research                                                               
Services, Legislative  Affairs Agency, pointed out  that the bill                                                               
does  have a  definition of  untested sexual  assault examination                                                               
kits,  which  means  a  kit  that  has  been  collected  but  not                                                               
submitted.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. MARTIN, in response to  Chair Lynn's question, agreed to work                                                               
with the sponsor to clarify issues.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN announced HB 117 was held in committee.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
01 CSHB 61 (MLV) Version P Gara.pdf HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 61
02 HB61 Sponsor Statement Gara.pdf HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 61
03 HB 61 Sectional Analysis Gara.PDF HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 61
04 HB 61 Supporting Document What the state currently offers Gara.pdf HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 61
05 HB 61 Supporting Documents Medals and their meaning Gara.pdf HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 61
06 HB 61 Supporting Documents Medals in order of rank Gara.pdf HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 61
07 HB 61 Supporting Documents Top Awards Gara.pdf HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 61
08 HB061CS(MLV)-DOA-DMV-02-20-15.pdf HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 61
01 HB117 ver A.pdf HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 117
02 HB117 Sponsor Statement.pdf HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 117
03 HB117 Supporting Documents- Article Funding Opportunities End the Backlog 03-04-2015.pdf HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 117
04 HB117 Supporting Documents- Article No Longer Ignored NY Times 08-02-2014.pdf HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 117
05 HB117 Supporting Documents- Data FY2008-FY2014 Funding National Institute of Justice 03-05-2015.pdf HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 117
06 HB117 Supporting Documents- Data FY2014 Funding National Institute of Justice 03-05-2015.pdf HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 117
07 HB117 Supporting Documents- Infographic 03-05-2015.png HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 117
08 HB117 Supporting Documents- Letter Natashas Jutice Project 03-04-2015.pdf HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 117
09 HB117 Supporting Documents- Letter Rape Kit Action Project 03-04-3015.pdf HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 117
10 HB117 Supporting Documents- Letter Texas Department of Public Safety 03-04-2015.pdf HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 117
11 HB117 Supporting Documents-Article CBS Thousands of Rape Kits Wait 11-10-2009.pdf HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 117
12 HB117 Supporting Documents-Article FBI Rape Rates Redefined 11-12-2014.pdf HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 117
13 HB 117 Supporting Documents- Email US Department of Justice 03-04-2015.pdf HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 117
14 HB117 Supporting Documents- Research Legislative Research Findings 02-13-2015.pdf HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 117
15 HB117 Supporting Documents- Letter TN Coalition to End Domestic Violence 03-06-2015.pdf HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 117
16 HB117 Supporting Documents- Data FY2014 Funding.pdf HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 117
17 HB117 Supporting Documents- Data Texas Audit_ 02-28-2015.pdf HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 117
18 HB117-LAW-CRIM-03-24-15.pdf HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 117
19 HB117-DPS-AST-03-24-15.pdf HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 117
20 HB117-DPS-LAB-03-24-15.pdf HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 117
21 CS HB117.pdf HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 117
22 HB117 Summary of Changes.pdf HSTA 3/26/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 117