Texas Legislature advances rape kit backlog donation bill

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- The Texas Senate has approved a bill allowing drivers to offer donations to help the state clear its backlog of untested rape kits.

The proposal asks drivers renewing their licenses to donate $1 or more to help test rape kits awaiting analysis.

Advocates say that while the driver license renewal approach is new, turning to crowdfunding isn't. In 2007, Texas enacted a $5 fee from sexually oriented businesses to help finance initiatives like rape crisis centers and programs for sexual assault survivors.

The GOP-controlled state Senate approved the bill Wednesday, and it cleared the House last month. Though sponsored by Democrats, it also has found support with spending-conscious Republicans.

Texas has thousands of untested rape kits statewide. Bill sponsors say processing a single one can cost up to $2,000.

AP-WF-05-17-17 2036GMT

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