Maloney Hails Passage of Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House of Representatives passed Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney’s (D-NY) H.R. 777 – Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act of 2019. This bipartisan bill was introduced with Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO) in January.
“Across the country, DNA evidence sits in a backlog because forensic labs don’t have the resources they need to process it, denying justice to victims of violent crime. So, I wrote and passed the Debbie Smith Act – which at the time was called the ‘the most important anti-rape legislation ever signed into law,’” said Rep. Maloney. “The results of the grant speak for themselves. This funding keeps rapists and other criminals off the streets. And perhaps more importantly, the program can deliver some measure of justice to survivors of violence. I urge the Senate to pass and send this bill to the President’s desk immediately.”
“For months I have fought for the Debbie Smith Act to be brought to the floor for a vote, and I am extremely happy to announce that the House has finally passed this vital legislation,” said Rep. Wagner. “The Debbie Smith Act will help eliminate the horrifying rape kit backlog that allows predators to roam freely and prevents victims from finding justice. It is unconscionable that this legislation was allowed to expire at all, and I thank my colleague Congresswoman Maloney for joining with me in fighting for the rights of victims and helping ensure that important DNA testing programs remain funded.”
Congresswoman Maloney is the author of the Debbie Smith Act, which first passed in 2004. The legislation created a grant program that provides much-needed resources to state and local law enforcement agencies to conduct forensic analysis of DNA evidence collected from crime scenes, including untested rape kits.
The National Institute of Justice reports that since 2005, Debbie Smith funding is responsible for 192,000 – or about 42% - of DNA matches in the FBI database. And as improved technology enables more collection of DNA evidence, demand for grant funding has consistently increased.