Texas mulls asking drivers to help it clear rape kit backlog

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas is considering asking drivers to help it clear its huge backlog of untested rape kits, a novel approach that has been well received by cost-conscious Republican lawmakers and one that other states facing the same problem might consider.

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The Republican-controlled Texas House on Wednesday gave tentative approval to the bill, which would ask drivers renewing their licenses to donate $1 or more to help test the thousands of rape kits awaiting analysis.

It would still need the state Senate's approval and Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's signature to become law, but it hasn't encountered any resistance thus far.

Victim rights groups say it appears to be unprecedented, though New Mexico may enact a law this week that would allow people to donate part of their tax returns to help clear its backlog.

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The Texas bill's sponsor, Democratic state Rep. Victoria Neave, says she wanted to come up with a creative way of getting the money to end the backlog as the Republican-led Legislature looks to cut spending.