AUSTIN – The Senate State Affairs Committee today considered two bills by Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, including SB 71 establishing a telemedicine program that will deliver high-quality medical forensic care to sexual assault survivors throughout Texas.

"Every survivor of sexual assault deserves compassionate care and justice - regardless of where they live," said Senator Nelson. "This legislation will ensure that we are providing expert care and collecting forensic evidence in a manner that will stand up in court."

Specifically, SB 71 allows local medical providers to consult via telemedicine with certified sexual assault nurse examiners who are trained to collect evidence and provide expert testimony in court proceedings. The program will leverage the current sexual assault nursing workforce while dramatically increasing the number of locations survivors can obtain care.

SB 1, the Senate's base budget, includes $1M for SB 71. It also includes an additional $49.8M to increase the capacity at state crime labs to address the backlog of sexual assault kits. SB 1 increases funds for rape crisis centers by $7.5M.

Senate State Affairs also considered SB 73 today, which protects judges and their families by closing a loophole to keep personally identifiable information private. Both bills were left pending.

Senator Jane Nelson represents District 12, including portions of Tarrant and Denton Counties. She is Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and the highest-ranking Republican in the Texas Senate.

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