Press "Enter" to skip to content

A Tale of Bipartisan Rape Kit Legislation Has Restored Samantha Bee’s Faith in Government (at Least a Little Bit)

By Marissa Martinelli

It’s not often that a story about government has a happy ending these days, but this one does. More than a year ago, Full Frontal’s Samantha Bee hosted a segment about rape kit backlog in the United States, and specifically, on an unsuccessful effort in Georgia’s state legislature to pass a solution. Though rape kits contain forensic evidence collected after a sexual assault that could help police track down suspects, too often those kits instead sit in storage for years on end, unused—or worse, are destroyed entirely.  While some states have taken steps to address the problem, last year Georgia state Sen. Renee Unterman killed a bill called the “Pursuing Justice for Rape Victims” Act, which would have required the state to begin testing kits—and that was despite unanimous support in the state’s House of Representatives.

At the time, the segment was a reminder, as if we needed one, of just how badly our government can fail, but on Thursday, Bee posted an animated followup to the story that might just restore your faith in government—or at least, a little bit of it. Turns out that the bill’s creator, Democratic Rep. Scott Holcomb, was not ready to give up, and he found an unlikely ally in Republican House Speaker David Ralston. “When I saw Scott Holcomb, I didn’t see ‘Scott Holcomb, a Democrat,’” Ralston told Full Frontal. “I saw ‘Scott Holcomb, a member of the House who had a good idea about something we needed to do in Georgia.’” Bipartisan support and some savvy legislative manipulation helped the bill pass in the final hour of the state’s legislative session, with Holcomb calling the experience “Schoolhouse Rock on steroids.” Even Unterman voted for it, in the end.

“We did it across party lines and we did it in a relentless way where we never gave up,” said Holcomb. “And I’m really proud of that.”

This article originally appeared in Slate.

Leave a Reply