State Rep. Margo McDermed, R-Mokena, got her bill to mandate the tracking of sexual assault kits to pass the Illinois House of Representatives unanimously last week.
In 2017, McDermed passed legislation to create the Sexual Assault Evidence Tracking and Reporting Commission with the goal of determining how to implement an electronic evidence tracking system, according to a news release. Its recommended changes to law and policy were incorporated into McDermed’s bill, which mandates that state police establish a tracking system conforming to the recommendations in the commission’s report.
“Other states like Michigan have recently implemented their own tracking system and we were able to use their knowledge, as well as that of other stakeholders, like police officials and victim’s rights advocates, to help inform the bill,” McDermed said in the release.
The state police announced it was taking proactive steps on the issue, but the bill is necessary to implement a uniform statewide tracking system and mandate participation and compliance by all stakeholders, according to the release. The bill does not allocate any new funds; instead, the tracking system will be funded through the state police budget. Once implemented, survivors will be able to privately and securely monitor their kits.
“An electronic tracking system is an important step towards the larger goal of reducing the significant evidence backlog,” McDermed said. “While the bill does not mandate turnaround times, it will give victims some peace of mind.”