OLYMPIA, Wash. — Rape survivors and police might only have to wait weeks to find out the results of a DNA rape kit in Washington state, instead of nearly a year in the current backlog. 

Backers of state House Bill 1166 said it would provide the Washington State Patrol with funding to eliminate a backlog of more than 10,000 unprocessed rape kits.

Senate Law & Justice Committee Chair Sen. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, said he expected the bill to pass.

The bill calls for $13 million in state funding to hire 20 crime lab scientists and to upgrade testing equipment, said bill sponsor Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines. “We’re sorry it was broken and we’re going to fix it.” 

Orwall said rape kits routinely take more than a year to be processed. Her bill would require kits to be processed within 45 days.

Rape survivor Nicole Stephens said the bill would send several messages.

“That you are supported, you are believed, you have resources,” said Stephens. “And on the other side of that coin, to perpetrators, we do take them seriously and it will be followed up on.”

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