Governor Ducey has made it clear since day one that public safety is a top priority. That includes clearing the backlog of untested rape kits in our state, an injustice for which there is no excuse.
The governor talked about this issue during his 2017 State of the State address in January, highlighting the important and ongoing statewide efforts to bring justice to victims:
The problem was so bad, we didn’t even know how many existed. So we committed to fixing it, and already there have been two indictments as a result of this important work. . . .
. . . My budget fully funds the testing of all remaining rape kits. And with the recommendations of our task force, we are ready to move forward with legislation requiring all future kits to be tested.
Let’s get this done, and for the thousands of women who have been victimized, finally ensure justice.
As announced in that address, Governor Ducey’s Executive Budget for fiscal year 2018 fully funds the testing of all remaining rape kits in Arizona.
It recommends a one-time appropriation of $1.2 million to eliminate the backlog of these untested kits. The Arizona Department of Public Safety, as outlined in the Executive Budget, will allocate these monies to agencies as needed in order to ensure the process is completed.
This additional investment will supplement existing funding sources, including approximately $6 million in federal grants and $500,000 as appropriated in fiscal year 2017.
Our state has taken a number of steps toward making this goal a reality through providing financing, developing a strategy, and spreading awareness about how important (and urgent) the issue really is.
In October 2016, Governor Ducey announced that we would be moving forward on a report released by the Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit Task Force outlining recommendations to clear the backlog. The task force—a bipartisan coalition of victims advocates, law enforcement officials, and policy makers—was established via executive order in January 2016.
The Governor’s Office released a video showcasing the task force’s impactful work in March 2016. You can watch the video here.