Legislators Say There’s Good Reason For Delay In Rape Kit Money

(Memphis) Finger-pointing is in full force as anger mounts over the state’s decision to put off funding for untested rape kits.

Republican State Senator Mark Norris claims his Democratic colleague Jim Kyle was only pulling a stunt yesterday when he tried to get $2 million for the kits.

“We’re trying to take a systematic approach to the problem,” said Norris.

Norris says Senator Jim Kyle tried to change that approach at the last minute Thursday.

“We’ve been working on it all session and for that to come up this late is a move for show, not substance.”

Kyle introduced a budget add-on doling out $2 million across the state to test rape kits.

Norris put it off until 2015 because other cities are trying to figure out if they have a backlog.

“For somebody to suggest without more, that the general assembly should write a check to one city when there are victims all over this state is discriminatory quite frankly,” said Norris.

“Don’t be dismayed. We are not going to be deterred by anything and we will eventually get it done,” said Memphis Mayor A C Wharton in another promise about getting every single rap kit tested.

Right now, the city is trying to raise $6 million to get about 12,000 backlogged kits tested.

WREG was first to tell you about the backlog four years ago, but the city did not take action until late last year.

Now city officials are scrambling to raise millions of dollars to get all the kits tested.

The sooner there is money, the sooner the tests are done.

“We’ll pick up next year. We will seek Senator Norris’s approval next year when that inventory is done. Obviously the sooner the better,” said Mayor Wharton.

Until then, the TBI will continue testing about 25 new cases from Memphis every month, and that includes all new rape kits.

Wharton and Norris are working with national leaders to get federal money for the testing.

There is currently $35 million set aside in the federal budget to tackle untested rape kits, but that is being held up in the budget process.

9 comments

  • Tracy

    Bill – why don’t you read the story again. Kyle was the one who is trying to get them tested. Mark Norris is the one who delayed the funding.

  • Don

    WREG was first to tell you about the backlog four years ago, but the city did not take action until late last year.
    Am I to assume the city had the kits and just did not test them. The same people who put Willie and AC caused all of this. Reminds me of a story.

    The definition of the word Conundrum is:
    something that is puzzling or confusing.

    Here are six Conundrums of socialism in the United States of America :

    1. America is capitalist and greedy – yet half of the population is subsidized.

    2. Half of the population is subsidized – yet they think they are victims.

    3. They think they are victims – yet their representatives run the government.

    4. Their representatives run the government – yet the poor keep getting poorer.

    5. The poor keep getting poorer – yet they have things that people in other countries only dream about.

    6. They have things that people in other countries only dream about – yet they want America to be more like those other countries.

    Think about it! And that, my friends, pretty much sums up the USA in the 21st Century.

  • Beth

    I think this is disturbing. Does this also mean that forensics has not also tested a lot of evidence taken from crime scenes?

  • John Snow

    I for one do not think the state should be bailing the city out every time they run short of money. The mayor and city council seem to waste more money than what is needed. It is their responsibility to do what is necessary to protect the city. Do not blame Norris or Kyle, blame the drunk who does not have a clue like so many on the council. We pay our taxes and they spend it on everything but what they are suppose to do.

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