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House passes sexual assault kit bill

Bill would prevent rape victims’ insurance from being charged

Idaho Capitol Building

Credit: Contributed photo
Idaho Capitol Building

— A bill that would prevent rape victims’ insurance from being charged for the cost of sexual assault evidence kits passed the Idaho House Feb. 21 with a 67-1 vote.

Rep. Melissa Wintrow, D-Boise, who sponsored House Bill 429, said sexual assault is the only crime that has the victim bear “the burden of criminal justice investigation and costs.”

“We don’t ask home invasion victims to pay the cost of fingerprint dusting. We don’t ask homicide victims’ families to pay the cost of blood spatter analysis,” Wintrow said. “However, we’re doing it with this crime.”

She said the legislation would prevent victims from “being shuffled around” if the state covered the full cost without taking from insurance first. Currently, the state pays after costs have been covered by a third-party, which is usually a victim’s insurance.

Rep. Paul Amador, R-Coeur d’Alene, spoke in support of the bill.

“This bill essentially closes a loophole and fixes some unintended consequences of earlier legislation, and it ultimately helps crime victims,” Amador said. “So I hope that you will give it your green light.”

The only “no” vote came from Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens.


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