Extended preservation of sexual assault forensic evidence advanced

Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh
Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh

Lawmakers gave first-round approval April 2 to a proposal that would allow individuals who have undergone a sexual assault forensic examination to request law enforcement to preserve their forensic evidence for an additional 20 years.

LB870, introduced by Omaha Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh, also would require law enforcement to notify the individual, no later than 60 days before the end of the statutorily required retention period for such evidence, of its intended destruction or disposal.

“The goal is to give more information to the victims of sexual assault,” she said.

A Judiciary Committee amendment, adopted 46-0, clarifies that a law enforcement agency would not be required to provide such notice for forensic evidence that was provided anonymously. The amendment also would require that an individual, at their request, be informed when there is a change of status in their case.

After adopting the committee amendment, senators voted 43-0 to advance LB870 to select file.

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