Senator Stewart, District 13 — Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19, 2021
"Gail's Law" To Create Sexual Assault Kit Tracking System Clears Final Senate Committee
TALLAHASSEE – “Gail’s Law” – a bill that would empower sexual assault survivors by creating a statewide tracking system for sexual assault kits – unanimously passed the Senate Appropriations Committee today and is now ready to be heard by the full Senate.
SB 1002 by Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) requires the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to create and maintain a statewide system for tracking sexual assault evidence kits from the point of collection through the criminal justice process. The tracking system would be accessible to survivors of sexual assault, giving them the option of opting-in for updates on the status of the evidence in their case.
“After suffering through an assault, many survivors feel powerless in a system that often fails to provide the appropriate support,” said Stewart. “Gail’s Law would bring accountability and transparency to the process – placing the power back in the hands of survivors.”
The bill’s House companion, HB 673 by Representative Emily Slosberg (D-Boca Raton) previously passed the full House 118-0.
Representative Slosberg said, “I am absolutely elated that Gail’s Law has passed its final Senate committee. There is no reason why we should be able to track a pizza more efficiently than we can track critical evidence in a sexual assault case. Gail’s Law will bring more accountability to the investigation of sexual assaults and reduce the potential for evidence to go untested and for perpetrators to escape justice. I look forward to seeing Gail’s Law head to the Senate Floor for a final vote in the coming weeks and ask my Senate colleagues to join me in supporting sexual assault survivors by passing this bill.”
Every year, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and local crime labs around the state receive thousands of sexual assault kits for processing; however, there is currently no centralized method for tracking the location or processing status of sexual assault kits once they are collected. The intent of SB 1002 and HB 673 is to create additional accountability measures and to empower survivors with information on the evidence in their cases, should they want it.