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Senator Stewart, District 17 — Press Release


February 29, 2024

CONTACT: Travis Flinn, 850-487-5017

Retention Of Sexual Offense Evidence Bill By Senator Stewart Passes Senate

Tallahassee, FL – Yesterday afternoon, SB 764 sponsored by Senator Linda Stewart (D – Orlando) relating to the retention of sexual offense evidence, passed unanimously from the Senate Floor. The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for final passage.


Currently, DNA evidence collected in sexual offense investigations must be submitted to a statewide criminal analysis laboratory system for forensic testing within 30 days after receipt by law enforcement, or after a request for testing is made by either the involved medical provider or law enforcement agency.


“Over the years, I have worked for survivors of sexual assault to streamline the retention of and access to sexual evidence kits. This final installment was brought to me by the Department of Law Enforcement and would standardize retention times for Sexual Assault Kits for persons that choose not to immediately report the crime to law enforcement,” said Stewart.


SB 764, builds on this existing system by allowing for DNA evidence to be safely retained for 50 years after collection in the event that the victim has chosen not to make a report to law enforcement. This evidence must be stored anonymously with a documented chain of custody, allowing the victim time to choose to report.


“The survivors of these traumatic incidents may not want anyone to know what has happened to them. In the event that a person has decided they want to prosecute in the future, there will be evidence that they can go back to for,” said Stewart. “It’s possible that other crimes could be solved with this evidence, and the chain of custody will be secure for any victim seeking justice.”