December 6, 2021 – WCASA applauds Governor Evers for signing SB 71 and SB 94, legislation that improves how Sexual Assault Kits (SAKs) are handled and that establishes a SAK tracking system, respectively. Collectively, these bills will help ensure Wisconsin does not experience another backlog of unsubmitted SAKs in the future. We would also like to extend our appreciation to the legislative leads on the bills, including Representatives Steffen and Subeck and Senators Cowles and Agard for their leadership on SB 71, and Representatives Thiesfeldt and Billings and Senators Darling and Agard for their leadership on SB 94.
SB 71 creates clear time frames for law enforcement to collect a SAK from medical facilities and to submit it the state Crime Lab for testing. SB 94 creates a SAK tracking system, providing survivors with the ability to obtain information about the location and status of their SAK. These bills are a critical part of a trauma-informed response to sexual assault, as they restore power to survivors by providing them with clear expectations regarding evidence collection while also offering the ability to anonymously obtain information about their SAK at a time and place of their choosing.
Behind every SAK is a person, and by requiring prompt submission of SAKs for testing, this legislation sends a message to survivors that the evidence collected from their bodies will not languish on a shelf in an evidence storage room for years. We appreciate these bills passed with such broad, bi-partisan support in the Legislature, and thank Governor Evers for quickly signing them into law.