The Latest: Bill requires speedy testing of rape kits

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on the final day of the California Legislature’s legislative session (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

The California Legislature is looking to address a backlog of untested rape kits and ensure they’re tested more quickly in the future.

The Senate on Friday sent Gov. Jerry Brown a measure requiring that all new sexual assault evidence kits be submitted to a lab within 20 days and tested within 120 days. Current law encourages law enforcement to promptly test rape kits but does not require it.

The Legislature voted earlier this week to require a statewide count of all untested rape kits.

Advocates for victims of sexual abuse say the measures will help to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice.

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4 p.m.

A bill to ban smoking in picnic areas on state beaches and parks is headed to California Gov. Jerry Brown.

The California Assembly passed the bill 52-14 Friday. The bill would impose fines of up to $25 for people who smoke or leave cigarette butts in designated picnic areas. It would also apply to people smoking e-cigarettes.

It’s the latest effort by California lawmakers to limit smoking on state beaches. Lawmakers earlier this week approved other bills banning smoking on beaches and in parks.

Gov. Jerry Brown has previously vetoed similar bills. The Democrat argued in a veto message on one of those bills last year that it would have been government overreach.

The United States-based Ocean Conservancy lists cigarettes as the most commonly found litter collected on beaches.

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10:10 a.m.

A California lawmaker is ending his effort this year to pass a bill declaring gay conversion therapy a fraudulent practice.

Democratic Assemblyman Evan Low of Campbell says he authored the bill because conversion therapy has been proven ineffective and harmful. His measure would have banned selling or advertising sexual orientation therapy as a way to change someone’s sexual orientation.

But he announced Friday, the final day of this year’s legislative session, that he needs more time as he tries to craft a national model.

The bill passed both the Senate and Assembly and was awaiting a final Assembly vote sending it to Gov. Jerry Brown.

But Low says opposition has built to the measure, with some saying lawmakers shouldn’t limit therapy choices and others fighting the proposal on religious grounds.

Categories: California News