Lansing — Gov. Rick Snyder signed off Thursday on an extra $4 million in the state budget to create a rape kit tracking program so survivors can measure the progress of their case.
The extra money would jump-start a five-year program to create a tracking system, so people who submitted rape testing kits to police can follow the progress. This program was funded in a supplemental appropriations bill Snyder signed that provides a total of $50 million for this and other initiatives.
“This additional funding allows several departments and agencies to invest in programs that will continue to improve the lives of Michiganders,” Snyder said Thursday. “Supporting a statewide sexual assault evidence kit tracking system is long overdue and will help survivors of these horrific crimes.”
The House approved the supplemental appropriations bill 105-2 at the end of October and the Senate passed it 37-0 earlier that month.
Rep. Laura Cox, R-Livonia, chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, had said in October that the rape kit funding is critical.
“These evidence kits were sitting in an office in the (Detroit) police department and actually the problem has been throughout the state of Michigan,” she said then. “I think it’s really important. We owe it to these victims that have had this very invasive test kit taken off of them.”
Attorney General Bill Schuette was also granted another $600,000 for his Flint water crisis criminal probe as part of the extra funding. It also allocates more than $16 million in federal funding to fight the opioid epidemic and $700,000 in state money to test Medicaid recipients for a history of opioid addiction.
The supplemental bill also includes another $1 million to fight vapor intrusion, or toxic vapors that can filter up through the ground into homes and businesses on or near groundwater or soil contaminated with legacy metal working or dry cleaner pollution.