Gov. Greg Abbott Signs Bill Targeting Rape Kit Backlog

Abbott said at an afternoon press conference in Dallas the bill would better address and provide justice for survivors of rape and sexual assault.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed a measure into law on Tuesday that aims to eliminate the backlog of thousands of untested rape kits in Texas.

Abbott's approval comes as states across the country are using legislation to bolster testing requirements and attempt to clear their own buildup of untested rape kits.

The Texas measure mandates law enforcement agencies conduct an audit to determine the number, status, and location of all of the untested rape kits in the state and then set timelines to ensure they are analyzed. It also allocates roughly $50 million toward hiring more workers at the state's crime labs and expands access to sexual assault nurse examiners for underserved populations.

Abbott said at an afternoon press conference in Dallas the bill would better address and provide justice for survivors of rape and sexual assault.

"One of the best strategies is the forensic testing of rape kits, but thousands of these kits have languished untested for years," Abbott said.

The new law follows Texas lawmakers' latest attempt in a long effort to tackle the state's rape kit backlog. In 2017, the Texas Legislature approved a bill that allowed drivers to offer donations to help the clear the pileup.