Senator Kay Floyd of Oklahoma to study state Bureau of Investigation’s response to sexual assaults
Published: July 31st, 2021
CapitolBeatOK Staff Report
“Oklahoma’s sexual assault and rape kit backlog is continuing to pile up,” according to a state legislative press release sent to news organizations this week.
With the approval of the President Pro Tempore of the upper chamber, Senate Democratic Leader Kay Floyd plans to study the progress of analyzing the backlog and provide an update on the current sexual assault cases pending testing.
The number of rape cases reported in the state over the last decade have been steadily increasing – about 1,500 cases reported in 2011 compared to about 2,400 cases reported in 2019. Senate Bill 975, which was authored by Floyd and signed into law in 2019, aimed to address the rising backlog of cases by requiring law enforcement agencies to send rape kits for testing within 20 days of collection.
The backlog and lack of rapid movement to resolve it was raised frequently at the state Capitol and throughout government in the years before Senator Floyd’s 2019 legislation.
“I’ve been working with the Oklahoma Task Force on Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence (SAFE) for years to address the mounting backlog of rape kits and ensure victims get the answers and peace they deserve,” Floyd said.
“We want to make sure this backlog is being addressed and see if there’s anything we can do legislatively to support and protect victims of these terrible crimes.”
The study was one of 71 approved by the Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, and has been assigned to the Public Safety Committee. It’s now awaiting scheduling by the committee chairman.
The number of approved interim studies this year is unusually high.
All interim studies must be concluded by Friday, Nov. 5.