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New law asks taxpayers for money to aid rape kit backlog

Kasia Gregorczyk
April 14, 2017 06:15 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- New Mexico is the first in the nation to take a big step in resolving its overwhelming rape kit back log. Other states have similar issues, but a creative bill will soon become law allowing New Mexicans to be a part of the solution.

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As of November 2016, New Mexico had more than 5,000 untested rape kits, with about 3,500 of them in Albuquerque. State and local agencies have made it clear -- there simply is not enough money to pay for them.

This new law will ask New Mexicans to contribute to clearing the backlog. The opportunity will come in 2018 when it’s time to file taxes.

“You will have a box where you can fill in an amount you would like to donate to this particular account. That money will be split 50/50 between the services and the rape kit analysis,” said Rep. Bealquin Gomez, D-La Mesa, who sponsored the bill.

Some of the services include working with rape victims to get them counseling or any kind of help to prosecute their case and as for as testing the kits, a single rape kit can cost up to 1,000 dollars.

The bill passed unanimously through both the House and Senate. Come July 1, the bill will officially become law.

“Right now it has a six-year sunset clause, but you know that can be changed if we see that it's working, and we can continue it for as long as we need to take care of the problem,” Gomez said.

Gomez plans to launch a website July 1 where New Mexicans can donate to the cause much sooner than next tax season.

Credits

Kasia Gregorczyk

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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