Mother of rape victim, and survivor push to strengthen DNA testing procedures

An Austin rape survivor, and a mother who lost her daughter to sexual violence are pushing for a bill they say can save lives.

House Bill 1399 would require law enforcement to immediately take a DNA sample of anyone arrested for certain felonies including kidnapping and sexual assault. 

The bill is being pushed by Jayann Sepich, whose daughter was raped and murdered while attending New Mexico State University.

"Many times when people are arrested for a felony they will plead down to a misdemeanor and they don't get convicted of that, so we don't get their DNA," said Sepich. "If they're serial rapists, or serial murderers and they are out, they are doing it again and again."

Ashley Spence lives in Austin and is also a rape survivor. She testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety in addition to Sepich.

"I have a daughter in this amazing state," said Spence. "I chose to raise her here and I want to work hard to do everything I can to make sure she is protected."

Sepich says at least 18 states have what's called "Katie's Law" or, something similar. She's hopeful Texas will be next.