Idaho House passes rape kit retention bill

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho House unanimously approved legislation Monday that would create a statewide standard on how long physical evidence in sexual assault investigations should be retained.

According to the proposal, rape kits involved in felony or anonymous cases would have to be retained for 55 years or until the sentence is completed. For death penalty cases, rape kits would have to be retained until the sentence has been carried out.

Currently, Idaho is one of a few states that do not have such guidelines.

Rape kits contain samples of semen, saliva or blood taken from a victim, usually a woman, during an invasive and intimate examination that can last up to six hours. The DNA collected can be entered into a national database if it’s submitted to a lab for testing. Doing so helps law enforcement officials identify serial predators.

The measure now goes to the Senate for approval.