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Health committee to take input on GOP sex assault kit bill

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Assembly Republicans were scheduled on Wednesday to hold a public hearing on some form of legislation designed to prevent a backlog of untested kits for sexual-assault evidence.

Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul has been pushing Assembly Republicans to pass two bipartisan bills that would establish new kit-submission protocols and a new database to track kits. Both proposals cleared the Senate in October but have not been scheduled for a hearing by the Assembly Health Committee chairman, Rep. Joe Sanfelippo.

Kaul has made the testing of sexual-assault kits a campaign prioirty; denying a hearing for either bill will deprive the attorney general of a political victory. Assembly Republicans moved on Friday to seize the issue from the Kaul, introducing a third bill.

This one would incorporate the submission and tracking proposals in the original bills. It also would adopt a bill of rights for sexual-assault victims, mandate that police notify immigration authorities of anyone who is in the country illegally and is arrested for sexual assault or convicted of it, and allow student victims to enter school-choice programs regardless of their qualifications to do so.

Both the immigration notification and school-choice provisions are unacceptable to Democrats. Still, Sanfelippo scheduled a hearing on the bill just hours after it had been introduced.

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