‘Long overdue’: Sexual assault kit bills arrive at Gov. Tony Evers’ desk after bumpy political road

Bipartisan proposals were years in the making, aimed at preventing another kit backlog

Two bills that would change how sexual assault kits are processed in Wisconsin have reached Gov. Tony Evers’ desk after several years of partisan strife and, according to supporters, decades of justice delayed for assault victims across the state. 

The proposals, which received final approval from the state Legislature last week, would set sexual assault kit collection, processing and storage timelines in state law, as well as create a kit tracking system that would be accessible to victims.

Their approval comes more than six years after the state Department of Justice discovered the existence of more than 6,000 untested sexual assault kits in law enforcement and hospital custody across the state, some of which were several decades old. 

Republican and Democratic attorneys general, along with a bipartisan coalition of state lawmakers, have tried in the several years since then to put policies into state law that would prevent another backlog — which was eventually cleared in 2018 — but hit political roadblocks, particularly in the GOP-controlled state Assembly

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