Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.), Crime Subcommittee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-Va.), and Congressman Ted Poe (R-Texas) will hold a press conference TODAY at 4:00 PM ET with sexual assault survivors to discuss a bipartisan bill, the Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act of 2014 (H.R. 4323). This bill, recently approved by the House Judiciary Committee and expected to be voted on by the House of Representatives this week, protects victims of sexual assault by extending a federal grant program for state and local governments to reduce the backlog of DNA test kits through 2019.

WHO: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), sponsor of the Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act; Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), author of the original Debbie Smith Act; Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.), original cosponsor of the Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act; Representative Bobby Scott (D-Va.), original cosponsor of the Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act; Congressman Ted Poe (R-Texas); Debbie Smith, sexual assault survivor, founder of Hope Exists After Rape Trauma (HEART), and the woman who inspired the Debbie Smith Act; and Natasha Alexenko, sexual assault survivor and founder of Natasha’s Justice Project

WHAT: Press Conference

WHEN: TODAY, Monday, April 7, 2014 | 4:00 p.m. ET

WHERE: House Judiciary Committee Hearing Room, 2141 Rayburn House Office Building

RSVP: Media planning to cover must RSVP with Jessica Collins at jessica.collins@mail.house.gov

Background:  The original Debbie Smith Act was introduced by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney after rape survivor Debbie Smith testified before Congress in June 2001 about using DNA evidence to solve rape cases. This bill was passed in 2004 as part of the Justice for All Act, which ensured DNA evidence could be used to convict the right suspect and created a federal DNA backlog processing grant program to provide necessary resources to crime laboratories across the country. Since then, millions of dollars in federal funding have been appropriated under the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant Program to process the hundreds of thousands of DNA evidence kits. The grant program’s authorization is currently set to expire at the end of fiscal year 2014. 

 

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