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Senator Stewart, District 17 — Press Release


May 13, 2024

CONTACT: Travis Flinn, 407-893-2422

Bill Establishing 50 Year Retention of Sexual Offense Evidence Kits Signed into Law

Orlando, FL – SB 764 sponsored by Senator Linda Stewart (D – Orlando) relating to the retention of sexual offense evidence, has been signed into law. The bill will require the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to retain sexual offense evidence kits of non-reporting persons for 50 years.


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.


“Throughout my time in the legislature I have worked for survivors of sexual assault and with FDLE to streamline the retention of and access to sexual evidence kits. This final installment was brought to me by the department 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. With the signing of this bill we guarantee that they have the ability to access their evidence should they later choose to prosecute,” said Stewart. “It’s also possible that other crimes could be solved with this evidence, and the chain of custody will be secure for any victim seeking justice.”