Nov 7 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week, the U.S. Senate passed legislation co-sponsored by Senator Thom Tillis to reauthorize the Debbie Smith Act, which would provide state and local law enforcement agencies with resources to complete forensic analyses of crime scenes and untested rape kits. 

“North Carolina has thousands of untested rape kits, and victims of these heinous crimes deserve justice,” said Senator Tillis. “Congress should do everything we can to put the perpetrators behind bars. I am proud the Debbie Smith Act passed the Senate and look forward to quick passage in the House to ensure our law enforcement agencies have the resources they need.”


The Debbie Smith Act was originally signed into law in 2004 to provide local and state crime laboratories resources to end the backlog of untested DNA evidence from unsolved crimes, analyze DNA samples, and increase the capacity to process DNA in order to guard against future backlogs. Since it became law, more than 860,000 DNA cases have been processed.

In addition to crime scene evidence, Debbie Smith funds are also utilized to process offender DNA samples to ensure evidence from unsolved crimes can be matched against a database of known offenders, similar to the criminal fingerprint databases. 

This legislation is endorsed by Debbie Smith, the Fraternal Order of Police, Major Cities Chiefs, Major County Sheriffs of America, National District Attorneys Association, Consortium of Forensic Science Organizations, Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), and Joyful Heart Foundation.