On August 4, 2015, Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law a bill that will help ensure justice for sexual assault victims whose cases have been affected by the enormous backlog of rape kits that have yet to be tested. HB 369 delays the current 10-year statute of limitations in sexual assault cases pending completion of a rape kit test. Because of the backlog in testing rape kits around the country (as many as 400,000 at last count), sexual predators have been left to run out the 10-year statute of limitations and never face prosecution for their crimes.
Spearheaded by Senator Mike Noland and Rep. Deb Conroy, HB 369 gives sexual assault victims hope that their assailants can still be caught and put on trial, regardless of how much time has passed. In December of 2013, Illinois State Police reported eliminating a backlog of 4,000 untested rape kits. But that number has again started to escalate, due to a lack of resources and inefficiencies in the system.
There are several organizations at the forefront of the effort to make sure all of the rape kits in the national backlog get tested. One such group is Test 400K, co-founded by Chicagoan Julie Smolyansky. Smolyansky, who is also the CEO of Lifeway Foods, has teamed up with jewelry designer Jason Burdeen to not only push for the timely testing of these kits but also implement a faster, more efficient method for testing rape kits all over the world.