Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to pass Senate Bill 1571 out of committee. Known as “Melissa’s Law,” this bill will help protect rape victims and their families in the aftermath of an assault. The bill is named in memory of Melissa Bittler, a Portland teen who was tragically murdered by a serial rapist in 2001. Responding to pressure from the Legislature last year, Oregon state police conducted an inventory of untested sexual assault kits across the state. The inventory revealed that more than 5,000 kits were sitting untested on evidence shelves. Melissa’s Law would create state-wide procedures around the handling and testing of sexual assault kits to ensure the timely testing of every victim’s kit, so that perpetrators may be identified and prosecuted.
I am a co-chief sponsor of Melissa’s Law and had the opportunity to sit down with Katu News to talk about the bill. You can watch the entire segment, featuring the incredibly brave sexual assault survivor and chief advocate of the bill, Brenda Tracy, below.