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“The Impact”: Rape Kit Tracking System; City Issues To Watch in 2019

Mike McClanahan profile by Mike McClanahan

This week on “The Impact”:

For years the state of Washington has had a massive backlog of untested sexual assault evidence. Behind every one of them there may be a rape survivor waiting for justice and a predator walking free.

“It’s not only frustrating but it’s heartbreaking in a sense,” said Larry Hebert, Forensic Laboratory Director for the Washington State Patrol.

But there’s a serious and concerted effort to turn that around. Legislation in 2015 and 2016 created new requirements about how sexual assault evidence kits are handled. The Washington State Patrol, which handles forensic testing of the kits, has seen a spike in the number of rape  kits submitted since it became mandatory to submit them within thirty days.  The state patrol is now also running a rape kit tracking system which allows sexual assault survivors to see where the evidence is in the legal process.

“That pilot project proved to be very successful and so in April of this year we began rolling it out across the state,” said Hebert.

In a sit down question and answer session, we explore what the state is doing differently and how close law enforcement is to clearing the backlog.

Also this week:

Housing availability, culvert repair, annexation, and developer liability are just a few of the topics that come up when we preview the issues that cities will be tracking in 2019.

“The liability for developers and for builders of condos has become a challenge so you haven’t seen as many of those kinds of developments occur around our state so there’s a sense that we’re missing a potential niche there,” said Candice Bock, Director of Government Relations, Association of Washington Cities.

We also look into why the Association of Washington Cities is weighing in on Seattle’s income tax lawsuit.

 “It’s a difficult issue for AWC because we are not taking a position on an income tax, but we are taking a position that cities have local taxing authority,” said Bock.


Governor Inslee is throwing his weight behind a clean energy plan. Hear what that would look like and how lawmakers are reacting.

 Click here to watch “The Impact” – December 12th, 2018