The Kansas House unanimously voted Friday to eliminate the statute of limitations for the prosecution of rape cases.
The Senate on Thursday unanimously approved a similar bill.
Under House Bill 2252, rape or aggravated criminal sodomy could be prosecuted any time after the crime occurs. Under current law, prosecution has to start within five years from when the rape occurred.
The bill also allows prosecution of sexually violent crimes anytime within 10 years of when the victim turns age 18 — or within one year of when authorities establish a conclusive DNA link between the crime and the suspect.
Several rape and molestation survivors testified to House and Senate committees in recent weeks, pleading with them to extend the state’s statute of limitations so that rapists — including those who have confessed — could be prosecuted. State officials say the new laws can’t be applied retroactively, so it won’t benefit victims who testified. But, if approved and signed into law, lawmakers say it could help future victims get justice.
At least 20 states have no time limit for prosecuting rape, according to the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network. Ten states, including Kansas, have statutes of limitation of five years or less.