Capitol Alert AM Newsletter

Speeding up rape kit testing + Blocking T-Mobile, Sprint merger + Trouble ahead for Trump

What happens in a rape kit exam?

A sexual assault evidence kit contains forensic evidence gathered from a victim's body during an intrusive, hours-long examination. Testing kits can find DNA evidence used to identify rapists, boost prosecutions or exonerate the falsely accused.
Up Next
A sexual assault evidence kit contains forensic evidence gathered from a victim's body during an intrusive, hours-long examination. Testing kits can find DNA evidence used to identify rapists, boost prosecutions or exonerate the falsely accused.

Happy Wednesday!

People are really interested in the 2020 candidates’ walk-out songs. Beto O’Rourke’s anthem is The Clash’s “Clampdown,” Sen. Kamala Harris’ go-to is Mary J. Blige’s “Work That,” and Sen. Bernie Sanders honors John Lennon’s calls for political revolution with “Power to the People.”

I’m curious. What would your presidential walk out song be? Send them my way and I’ll compile a list. hwiley@sacbee.com

EVERY 98 SECONDS

That’s how frequently someone is sexually assaulted in the U.S., according to the Joyful Heart Foundation, an organization that supports state Sen. Connie Leyva’s legislation to speed up rape kit testing.

Following an assault, victims may choose to endure a lengthy forensic examination to collect DNA evidence that can identify suspects. But California law doesn’t require testing the kit if the suspect’s identity is already known, if charges are dropped, if there’s a guilty plea on the table or if the victim’s consent is in question.

The Chino Democrat’s Senate Bill 22 would compel law enforcement agencies to submit rape kits within 20 days of an assault and requires a lab to test them within 120 days. The bill has earned bipartisan backing throughout session, including when it passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee yesterday.

The legislation is an attempt to prevent future backlogs of untested kits in California. The state has more than 13,000 untested kits. By testing DNA evidence linked to a sexual assault more quickly, Leyva’s office said law enforcement can identify unknown assailants, solve more crimes, exonerate the innocent and put perpetrators behind bars.

Former Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed an identical bill by Leyva last year after he appropriated $7.5 million to audit and complete untested rape kits.

“SB 22 is long overdue legislation that will help to ensure justice for survivors and protect our local communities by requiring the prompt testing of rape kits in California,” Leyva said. “There is absolutely no reason why we should not be testing every rape kit in our state, particularly when those rape kits may contain crucial evidence that can help put rapists behind bars.”

HOLD THE PHONE

Attorney General Xavier Becerra is co-leading a group of 10 attorneys general to halt the proposed T-Mobile and Sprint merger, his office announced on Tuesday.

During a press call yesterday, Becerra argued that combining the telecommunications companies would harm 13 million Californians and cut service options from four to three. T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T and Verizon are the largest telecom providers in the United States.

“America’s consumers have the right under law to make choices in our market-based economy,” Becerra said. “Choice is not real if competition is not meaningful.”

California and New York are spearheading the lawsuit, filed with Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Virginia and Wisconsin, in New York’s Southern District Court.

Becerra said the the combined companies would violate antitrust laws because the proposed merger would take up more than 50 percent of the market share in certain parts of the state, including in Los Angeles.

The “ripple effect,” the attorney general said, would “have consequential impacts” on low-income communities. Significant price increases would continue “month after month, year after year,” Becerra said.

PRESIDENTIAL POLL

A new Quinnipiac poll hints at trouble ahead for President Donald Trump.

The numbers:

Former Vice President Joe Biden v. Trump — 53-40 percent

Sen. Bernie Sanders v. Trump — 51-42 percent

Sen. Kamala Harris v. Trump — 49-41 percent

Sen. Elizabeth Warren v. Trump — 49-42 percent

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg v. Trump — 47-42 percent

Sen. Cory Booker v. Trump — 47-42 percent

But, not so fast. It’s still just June 2019, people.

A June 1, 2016 Quinnipiac poll had Hillary Clinton at a 45 – 41 percent lead over Trump. Just another reminder that we have a lot of campaign promises, policies and politics to hash through before Nov. 3, 2020.

TWEET OF THE DAY

I hear Michael Cohen is looking for pen pals.

Best of The Bee:



Hannah Wiley joined The Bee as a legislative reporter in 2019. She produces the morning newsletter for Capitol Alert and previously reported on immigration, education and criminal justice. She’s a Chicago-area native and a graduate of Saint Louis University and Northwestern.
  Comments