Changes to rape evidence collection bill rejected

CHARLESTON (AP) — The West Virginia House of Delegates has rejected changes the Senate made to a bill to regulate and improve the training of nurses who collect forensic evidence in sexual assault cases.

The bill will now go to conference or will be dropped completely.

The original bill creates a Sexual Assault Forensic Examination Commission to regulate these specially trained registered nurses at the local and state levels. On Thursday, the House decided Senate changes move power away from local examination boards, a critical part of the measure.

The bill aims to address inadequacies in the collection of evidence in sexual assault cases.

The bill’s sponsor, Del. Barbara Fleischauer, has said the State Forensics Lab estimates up to 75 percent of rape kits have collection or documentation errors.

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