TALLAHASSEE, Fla., March 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — – HB 673, Gail’s Law, by Representative Emily Slosberg (D–Boca Raton) passed out of the House Criminal Justice & Public Safety Subcommittee with unanimous, bipartisan support. Gail’s Law would require the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to create and maintain a statewide system for tracking sexual assault evidence kits from the point of collection through the criminal justice process. The tracking system would be accessible to survivors of sexual assault, giving them the option of opting-in for updates on the status of the evidence in their case. Currently, 30 states and Washington D.C. have implemented a statewide database for tracking sexual assault kits.
HB 673 is named Gail’s Law after Gail Gardner, an Orlando woman who is survivor of a vicious sexual assault in 1988 by an armed man who broke into her home and raped her at knifepoint. Despite courageously consenting to a forensic exam, where a sexual assault evidence kit was collected, Gail had to wait nearly 30 years before her kit was tested. In November of last year, Orlando police finally identified Gail’s attacker as a man who was already in prison for another sexual assault. That man is accused of assaulting 15 other women in Florida, yet evidence that could have led to his conviction sat on a shelf for almost 30 years.
In response to Gail’s Law passing out of committee, Representative Slosberg said, “Gail’s Law seeks to address the historical lack of accountability surrounding sexual assault evidence kits and, in conjunction with other measures passed by the legislature, eliminate the potential for evidence to go untested and for perpetrators to escape justice. I am delighted to see such bipartisan support for this bill and I look forward to working on this bill in the Justice Appropriations Subcommittee.”
The attached video is of the moving testimony provided by Representative Slosberg and Gail Gardner.
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SOURCE Representative Emily Slosberg, Florida House of Representatives, District 91