Rape Kit Backlog: Legislature Wants Data Before Dollars

In the waning days of the legislative session, lawmakers defeated a proposal that would have provided $2 million to reduce the backlog of untested rape kits statewide. Senate Republican leader Mark Norris says the proposal was rejected because the legislature wants to know the size of the problem before authorizing money to fix it. He tells the Memphis Daily News that the legislature also is asking localities to explain how their situations came to exist and to offer a credible plan for eliminating backlogs. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is collecting the information and is expected to report to the legislature on its findings. Until then, the state has repurposed $500,000 in federal money to help the city of Memphis work through its backlog.