H.R. 4323: Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act of 2014

H.R. 4323

Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act of 2014

Committee
Judiciary

Date
April 7, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Monday, April 7, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 4323, the Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act of 2014, under a suspension of the rules. H.R. 4323 was introduced on March 27, 2014 by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, which ordered the bill reported by voice vote.

Bill Summary

H.R. 4323 reauthorizes the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant Program (42 U.S.C. 14135) for five years (until 2019) at current funding levels. The Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant Program authorizes the Attorney General to make grants to state and local governments for the purposes of: 1) analyzing DNA samples collected from crime scenes and offenders (including samples from rape kits); 2) increasing the capacity of laboratories owned by these entities to carry out DNA analysis; 3) collecting DNA samples; 4) ensuring that DNA testing is carried out in a timely manner; 5) implementing a DNA arrestee collection process; 6) conducting an audit of samples of sexual assault evidence awaiting testing in possession of state and local government; and 7) ensuring that the collection and processing of DNA evidence by law enforcement is carried out in an appropriate and timely manner.[1]

Moreover, this legislation reauthorizes Section 303(b) of the DNA Sexual Assault Justice Act of 2004 (42 U.S.C. 14136(b)) for five years (until 2019) at current funding levels. Finally, H.R. 4323 reauthorizes Section 304(c) of the DNA Sexual Assault Justice Act of 2004 (42 U.S.C. 14136a(c)) for five years (until 2019) at current funding levels. Sections 303(b) and 304(c) authorize the Attorney General to make grants to provide training, technical assistance, education, and information relating to the identification, collection, preservation, analysis, and use of DNA samples and DNA evidence by law enforcement and medical professionals.[2]

[1] http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/14135

[2] http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/14136; http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/14136a

Background

The Debbie Smith Act was authorized in 2004 as part of the Justice for All Act, which allowed the use of DNA evidence to convict those guilty of violent and sexual crimes. The Act also created a grant program for state and local governments to reduce the backlog of DNA samples.[1] Authorization for the grant program is set to expire at the end of FY 2014.

[1] http://goodlatte.house.gov/press_releases/510

Cost

CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 4323 would cost $644 million over the 2015-2019 period, with remaining authorized amounts spent in subsequent years.[1] Enacting the bill would not affect direct spending or revenues.

[1] http://www.cbo.gov/publication/45236

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.