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(a) In this section, “Committee” means the Maryland Sexual Assault Evidence Kit Policy and Funding Committee.
(b) The General Assembly finds that:
(1) there is a lack of consistent policies regarding sexual assault evidence collection in the State;
(2) effective policies regarding collection of medical forensic evidence are an important component of providing sexual assault victims with access to justice and of holding the perpetrators of sexual assaults accountable;
(3) sexual assault evidence collection exams are unavailable at many hospitals;
(4) there is a shortage of forensic nurse examiners qualified to perform sexual assault evidence collection;
(5) law enforcement agencies lack a uniform approach for testing and retaining sexual assault evidence kits;
(6) hospitals, law enforcement agencies, and others in the justice system lack the resources and funding necessary to ensure consistency in sexual assault evidence collection; and
(7) policies regarding sexual assault evidence collection are part of the justice system and require coordination with multiple State agencies and victim services providers.
(c) The purposes of this section are to:
(1) provide for a statewide sexual assault evidence kit policy and funding committee to increase access to justice for sexual assault victims;
(2) hold the perpetrators of sexual assault accountable;
(3) increase availability of sexual assault evidence collection exams; and
(4) create effective statewide policies regarding the collection, testing, and retention of medical forensic evidence in sexual assault cases.
(d)(1) There is a Maryland Sexual Assault Evidence Kit Policy and Funding Committee.
(2) The Committee consists of the following members:
(i) the following members of the Senate of Maryland, appointed by the President of the Senate, as ex officio members:
1. one member of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee; and
2. one member of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee;
(ii) the following members of the House of Delegates, appointed by the Speaker of the House, as ex officio members:
1. one member of the House Appropriations Committee; and
2. one member of the House Judiciary Committee;
(iii) the Attorney General, or the Attorney General's designee;
(iv) the Superintendent of the State Police, or the Superintendent's designee;
(v) the Secretary of Human Services, or the Secretary's designee who has expertise in responding to child sexual abuse;
(vi) the Secretary of Health, or the Secretary's designee who has expertise in the procurement of sexual assault evidence kits;
(vii) the Executive Director of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, or the Executive Director's designee;
(viii) the following members appointed by the Attorney General:
1. one representative of the Maryland State's Attorneys' Association;
2. the Executive Director of the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, or the Executive Director's designee;
3. one representative of the Maryland Association of Chiefs of Police;
4. one representative of a legal services program or agency that works primarily to represent sexual assault victims;
5. one forensic nurse examiner who works in a county in which there is more than one hospital; and
6. one representative of a crime lab who has expertise in sexual assault forensic evidence kit analysis; and
(ix) the following members appointed by the Governor:
1. one representative of the State Board of Nursing who has expertise in forensic nursing; and
2. one representative of the Governor's Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services.
(3) The Attorney General, or the Attorney General's designee, is the Committee chair.
(4) A member of the Committee:
(i) may not receive compensation as a member of the Committee; but
(ii) is entitled to reimbursement for expenses under the Standard State Travel Regulations, as provided in the State budget.
(5)(i) The term of an appointed member of the Committee is 4 years.
(ii) The terms of the appointed members are staggered as required by the terms provided for members of the Committee on June 1, 2017.
(iii) At the end of a term, an appointed member continues to serve until a successor is appointed and qualifies.
(iv) A member who is appointed after a term has begun serves only for the rest of the term and until a successor is appointed and qualifies.
(6) A majority of the authorized membership of the Committee is a quorum.
(7)(i) The Committee shall meet quarterly at the times and places that the Committee determines.
(ii) The Committee may hold additional meetings at the call of the Committee chair or any six members of the Committee after giving proper notice in the manner provided in the rules of the Committee.
(e)(1) The Committee shall develop and disseminate best practices information and recommendations regarding:
(i) the testing and retention of sexual assault evidence collection kits;
(ii) coordination between State agencies, victim services providers, local law enforcement, and local sexual assault response teams;
(iii) payment for sexual assault evidence collection kits;
(iv) increasing the availability of sexual assault evidence collection exams for alleged victims of sexual assault;
(v) reducing the shortage of forensic nurse examiners;
(vi) increasing the availability of information to sexual assault victims regarding:
1. criminal prosecutions of sexual assault crimes;
2. civil law remedies available to victims of sexual assault;
3. sexual assault evidence collection kits; and
4. victim rights;
(vii) creating and operating a statewide sexual assault evidence collection kit tracking system that is accessible to victims of sexual assault and law enforcement; and
(viii) establishing an independent process to review and make recommendations regarding a decision of a law enforcement agency not to test a sexual assault evidence collection kit.
(2) The Committee may adopt rules governing the administration and proceedings of the Committee.
(f) The Attorney General, in consultation with the Committee, shall adopt regulations based on the Committee's recommendations providing for the collection, testing, and retention of sexual assault evidence collection kits in the State.
(g)(1) The Committee shall evaluate State and local funding needs to determine whether funding allocations are sufficient and appropriate to implement the best practices developed by the Committee under subsection (e) of this section and the regulations adopted by the Attorney General under subsection (f) of this section.
(2) The Committee's evaluation under this subsection shall include considerations of whether the costs associated with hospital personnel training and the availability of sexual assault examinations may be included as part of a hospital's required community benefit.
(h) In fiscal year 2018 and in each fiscal year thereafter, the Governor shall include funds in the State budget to implement this section, including funds to:
(1) employ a full-time Assistant Attorney General to:
(i) staff the Committee; and
(ii) assist with the implementation of regulations adopted under this section; and
(2) operate and maintain an office.
(i) On or before January 1 annually, beginning January 1, 2019, the Committee shall report on the Committee's activities during the prior fiscal year to the Governor and, in accordance with § 2-1257 of the State Government Article, the General Assembly.
Cite this article: FindLaw.com - Maryland Code, Criminal Procedure § 11-927 - last updated December 31, 2021 | https://codes.findlaw.com/md/criminal-procedure/md-code-crim-proc-sect-11-927/
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