Bill Text: TX HB281 | 2017-2018 | 85th Legislature | Enrolled


Bill Title: Relating to establishing a statewide electronic tracking system for evidence of a sex offense.

Spectrum: Moderate Partisan Bill (Democrat 11-2)

Status: (Passed) 2017-06-15 - Effective on 9/1/17 [HB281 Detail]

Download: Texas-2017-HB281-Enrolled.html
 
 
  H.B. No. 281
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to establishing a statewide electronic tracking system for
  evidence of a sex offense.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  The heading to Subchapter B, Chapter 420,
  Government Code, is amended to read as follows:
  SUBCHAPTER B. COLLECTION, [AND] PRESERVATION, AND TRACKING OF
  EVIDENCE OF SEX OFFENSE
         SECTION 2.  Subchapter B, Chapter 420, Government Code, is
  amended by adding Section 420.034 to read as follows:
         Sec. 420.034.  STATEWIDE ELECTRONIC TRACKING SYSTEM. (a)
  For purposes of this section, "evidence" means evidence collected
  during the investigation of an alleged sexual assault or other sex
  offense, including:
               (1)  evidence from an evidence collection kit used to
  collect and preserve evidence of a sexual assault or other sex
  offense; and
               (2)  other biological evidence of a sexual assault or
  other sex offense.
         (b)  The department shall develop and implement a statewide
  electronic tracking system for evidence collected in relation to a
  sexual assault or other sex offense.
         (c)  The tracking system must:
               (1)  track the location and status of each item of
  evidence through the criminal justice process, including the
  initial collection of the item of evidence in a forensic medical
  examination, receipt and storage of the item of evidence at a law
  enforcement agency, receipt and analysis of the item of evidence at
  an accredited crime laboratory, and storage and destruction of the
  item of evidence after the item is analyzed;
               (2)  allow a facility or entity performing a forensic
  medical examination of a survivor, law enforcement agency,
  accredited crime laboratory, prosecutor, or other entity providing
  a chain of custody for an item of evidence to update and track the
  status and location of the item; and
               (3)  allow a survivor to anonymously track or receive
  updates regarding the status and location of each item of evidence
  collected in relation to the offense. 
         (d)  The department shall require participation in the
  tracking system by any facility or entity that collects evidence of
  a sexual assault or other sex offense or investigates or prosecutes
  a sexual assault or other sex offense for which evidence has been
  collected.
         (e)  Records entered into the tracking system are
  confidential and are not subject to disclosure under Chapter 552.  
  Records relating to evidence tracked under the system may be
  accessed only by:
               (1)  the survivor from whom the evidence was collected;
  or
               (2)  an employee of a facility or entity described by
  Subsection (d), for purposes of updating or tracking the status or
  location of an item of evidence.
         (f)  An employee of the department or a facility or entity
  described by Subsection (d) may not disclose to a parent or legal
  guardian of a survivor information that would aid the parent or
  legal guardian in accessing records relating to evidence tracked
  under the system if the employee knows or has reason to believe that
  the parent or legal guardian is a suspect or a suspected accomplice
  in the commission of the offense with respect to which evidence was
  collected. 
         (g)  To assist in establishing and maintaining the statewide
  electronic tracking system under this section, the department may
  accept gifts, grants, or donations from any person or entity.
         SECTION 3.  (a)  Not later than September 1, 2019, the
  Department of Public Safety of the State of Texas shall require all
  facilities and entities described by Section 420.034(d),
  Government Code, as added by this Act, to participate in the
  statewide electronic tracking system established under that
  section.
         (b)  Section 420.034, Government Code, as added by this Act,
  applies only to evidence collected on or after the date on which a
  facility or entity is first required under Subsection (a) of this
  section to participate in the statewide electronic tracking system.
  Evidence collected before that date is not required to be tracked
  under the tracking system.
         SECTION 4.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2017.
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 281 was passed by the House on April
  12, 2017, by the following vote:  Yeas 146, Nays 0, 1 present, not
  voting.
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 281 was passed by the Senate on May
  24, 2017, by the following vote:  Yeas 30, Nays 1.
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate    
  APPROVED:  _____________________
                     Date          
   
            _____________________
                   Governor       
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