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Utah lawmaker wants to require all rape kits be tested

FILE - Representative Angela Romero attends a public engagement workshop at the Sorenson Unity Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, July 21, 2016. Romero wants to require that all evidence kits police collect after a sexual assault be tested to catalog a
FILE - Representative Angela Romero attends a public engagement workshop at the Sorenson Unity Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, July 21, 2016. Romero wants to require that all evidence kits police collect after a sexual assault be tested to catalog and compare the perpetrator's DNA against other rapes.
Weston Kenney, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah lawmaker wants to require that all evidence kits police collect after a sexual assault be tested to catalog and compare the perpetrator's DNA against other rapes.

Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, said at a Tuesday night town hall meeting that she's working on legislation that would require the Utah State Crime Lab, which has been grappling with a backlog, to test all rape kits.

Romero says she does not yet know how much it would cost, but it's important to run the tests — not only to investigate a sexual assault but to try to identify serial rapists or tie suspects to other crimes.

Lawmakers have already set aside $3 million to help test a 2,700-kit backlog from the past few years.

Jay Henry, state crime lab director, says the overwhelmed lab won't finish those until 2018.